Florida Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution

Resolving disputes outside of court

Lawyers, and sometimes parties in legal disputes, have often turned to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a means of resolving contested matters without the cost and delay of Court.  In order to better serve these individuals, we at Burke Blue have developed a mediation practice that is designed to assist those wishing to have an experienced and professional mediator work with the parties as a neutral and independent facilitator in the development and drafting of a mutually satisfactory and comprehensive Settlement Agreement.  The Florida Supreme Court Certified mediation group at Burke Blue mediates Circuit Civil disputes in almost all Civil and Family Law practice areas. We even offer “pre-suit” divorce mediation which is an alternative to lengthy and expensive divorce litigation. Your dispute can be mediated in either of our offices. We can even come to you if you prefer.

What is ADR or mediation?

Litigation can sometimes be a necessity but is often time-consuming and expensive.  Scheduling can be difficult and even simple cases can drag on for months or years.  With margins becoming tighter for many businesses and individuals, litigation has become cost-prohibitive for many.

Mediation is a lower cost alternative to litigation.  In Florida, it has proven to be a very effective and efficient means of resolving Civil Disputes as well as Family Law matters.  It is an informal meeting attended by the parties to the dispute and a trained mediator (preferably one that is Florida Supreme Court Certified).  The mediator, a neutral and independent third party, is trained to facilitate a discussion of relevant facts, law, issues, potential solutions and avenues to agreement.  The mediator stays neutral and does not give either party legal advice.  He works with the parties (and attorneys, if represented) to assist them in reaching their own fair and comprehensive resolution.  Once reached, the agreement is memorialized into a Mediation Settlement Agreement that is legally enforceable.

One of the reasons mediation has been so successful is that, with limited exceptions, communications occurring during mediation are confidential.  This allows parties to be forthright and forthcoming without fear that the discussion will later be used against them.

The feature that makes mediation most attractive to people is the fact that the parties are “in control.”  They know the facts, they understand the consequences, and they are in the best position to determine the outcome.  They instinctively understand that if they can conclude the matter between themselves, they will be better off than if they let third parties (attorneys, Court and/or juries) decide their fate.

Parties understand that a few hours spent in mediation are much less expensive and less stressful than months or years of litigation.

Why mediate instead of litigate?

One of the best perks to mediation is that the parties get to control the outcome — it is their Agreement.  Also, mediation is much less expensive than proceeding through months or years of discovery, motions, hearings, trial, appeals, etc.  Usually, the emotional stress and strain experienced in a mediation is much less than that experienced in contested hearings or trials.  Also, generally, in mediation, parties can be much more creative in crafting outcomes than courts that are bound by precedents and subject to appeals.

And, finally, since the parties helped shape the Agreement, they will be much more likely to comply with its conclusions and dictates instead of an agreement imposed upon them by the Court.

What is “pre-suit” divorce mediation?

Particularly in Family Law matters, “pre-suit” divorce mediation is being used extensively by couples who agree to work with a mediator to resolve their marital issues (divorce, parenting, child support, alimony, property distribution, etc.) and who want to avoid a costly and stressful divorce-by-war.  If saving time, money, stress and strain are more important than “sticking it to” a spouse through lengthy and costly litigation, then “pre-suit” divorce mediation can be an attractive alternative.  “Pre-suit” mediation can develop a parenting plan, determine a financial plan and ultimately save assets. Burke Blue mediators can offer resolutions that are satisfactory to each spouse and create a Marital Settlement Agreement that is fair, comprehensive and enforceable.

Why Burke Blue?

Our mediators are experienced and trained to assist parties reach a fair, comprehensive and enforceable Settlement Agreement.  Our mediators are professional and our mediation facilities are exceptional at either of our offices. We are also available to mediate at locations that are convenient to the parties.  Burke Blue rates are competitive and our scheduling is flexible.  Contact us and arrange a consultation today.

50 years of providing comprehensive legal services to businesses and individuals throughout Northwest Florida

The hiring of a mediation attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience or contact us online or by phone at 850-769-1414 for Panama City; 850-236-4444 for Panama City Beach.