Alternate Dispute Resolution


Sometimes parties are able to agree on some or all of the many issues presented in a dissolution matter. Whether the parties can agree on everything from equitable distribution, alimony, child support, time-sharing and parental responsibility, or are only able to resolve some of these matters, it reduces the cost of the dissolution process if the issues that can be agreed to are resolved as early as possible in a divorce matter. Mediation is a meeting between the parties, their attorneys, if they are represented by counsel, and a neutral, third party facilitator - the mediator. The mediation is voluntary and the parties are not obligated to reach any agreement during the meeting. However, the parties are free to try to resolve as much of the divorce matter as they can and if an agreement is reached, it can be reduced to writing and signed the same day as the mediation. The process is confidential and often gives the parties an opportunity to flush out the issues, identifying what can be resolved without further litigation expenses, and what requires court ruling for final determination. Caroline Johnson is a Florida Supreme Court certified family mediator. She is available for mediations for both pro se and represented parties. Call today for mediation rates and dates of availability for mediation.


All family law mattes present complex and highly emotional situations that include critically important issues such as children and finances. The collaborative process to handling a family law matter offers an alternative, non-litigated, non-adversarial manner of handling these issues. The process begins when each party retains an attorney who has been collaboratively trained. They then select a neutral financial expert and a neutral mental health professional who is not there to provide therapy, but to facilitate the process and identify any issues that may need to be addressed. From the beginning, the collaborative process is a team approach to a divorce, and everyone, including the parties, opposing counsel and the experts involved, are treated with respect, as they all share the same goal. Getting the family through the divorce process in an equitable and non-adversarial manner. This process keeps financial information and other private family issues confidential. The process is likely to provide a cost benefit as opposed to litigation because the parties utilize joint experts. The parties must voluntarily decide to forgo litigation and use a cooperative, honest, and transparent approach to their issues. This promotes integrity, respect and dignity and assists a family in resolving the issues at hand and to minimize the amount of conflict that could arise in the future.

Christen Ritchey has been collaboratively trained and is available to discuss this option with you. Call now for more information.