In Florida, most divorcing couples use mediation as an option to avoid going to trial. If you and your spouse hire attorneys, you will likely resolve your case in mediation, but only after an expensive lawyer-driven process and just before going to trial.
As an alternative, all couples have the option of a “Pro-Se/Pre-Suit" Mediation, which means unrepresented by attorneys and before the divorce has been filed with the court. In a Pro-Se/Pre-Suit Mediation, both parties engage in the mediation process with the certified mediator you select, focusing on the goal of creating a Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan, if applicable. This option is chosen by couples that need the assistance of a knowledgeable, skilled, professional facilitator, but want to save time and money and avoid the combative and sometimes destructive nature of an attorney-driven divorce.
Florida Supreme Court certified mediators offering Pro-Se/Pre-Suit mediation are trained to guide divorcing couples towards agreement. The end-result of the mediation process is the creation of a customized Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan, which is then filed with the court and finalized. This agreement will cover future parenting arrangements when minor children are involved, as well as how finances and other assets will be handled during and after the divorce.
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Stacey Smith is a seasoned negotiator and facilitator, and a Certified Family Mediator by the Florida State Supreme Court.
Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University and brings a wealth of experience and insight as a neutral collaborative party to the field of mediation. She has successfully mediated over one hundred legal cases in Northern and Central Florida, ranging from simple single-issue disputes to complex and delicate family matters. Ms. Smith’s success stems not only from her experience, but also from her ability to encourage respectful discussion, earnest listening and collaborative resolution.
After 20+ years of enjoying a successful health care career, I decided to make a change. Life takes many interesting twists and turns and after going through an emotional and costly divorce myself, I wanted to make a difference. It was in the most difficult of times that I learned the most about myself. I learned that when you think you are about to break, you can find an inner strength that you didn’t know existed and it will pull you through. I learned that you can find peace again, you can grow from your challenges and you can find comfort in the unknown and you will go on. I want to help couples find the same and preserve their character, their respect and more importantly focus on the family as a unit. Helping couples/families reach agreements that are mutually beneficial is where my heart lies.
Prior to becoming a Florida State Supreme Court Certified Mediator, Ms. Smith held executive leadership roles in healthcare, requiring creative approaches to resolving some of our nation’s most complex healthcare challenges. She currently lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida and in her free time enjoys running, cycling and volunteering with several non-profit organizations.
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