This article covers a number of crucial topics about the mediation process in a real estate dispute, including:
- How and why you can end up at the mediation table during a real estate dispute,
- The logistics of mediation, including who pays, and
- The advantages of settling through mediation, as opposed to resolution by trial.
What Is Mediation For Florida Legal Disputes?
Mediations are a way for parties in a legal dispute to come up with an agreement on their own without the need for court intervention. In other words, they allow you to control the outcome instead of putting it all in the hands of a judge, who does not have a vested interest in the outcome.
Why Seek Mediation In The Event Of A Real Estate Dispute?
Mediation offers a number of advantages. First, you can use negotiation to craft an outcome that is more helpful, useful, or practical for you. Second, you and the opposing party may be able to find more common ground through this process. Third, mediation takes the dispute out of the adversarial context of court and trial, so the process is less formal and more flexible.
You don’t have to do all your interactions under oath, in a formal courtroom setting, or via legal documents. You can speak more freely and have a little more wiggle room on the way to present your arguments.
Finally, you may not even have a choice. Many judges will require an attempt at mediation before you can even have a trial or final hearing. This is because many judges feel that most disputes can be resolved outside of a trial setting.
It’s within your best interest to make the most out of mediation, whether it’s ordered by the court or requested by the opposing party.
Do The Buyer And The Seller Have To Agree To The Mediation Process For A Real Estate Dispute In Florida?
If the court orders mediation, then the buyers and sellers don’t have to agree to mediation. They simply have to attend whether they like it or not.
If it is a voluntary mediation, both sides – plaintiff, defendant, buyer, seller, etc. – have to agree to mediation for it to take place.
Given there is everything to gain and very little to lose by at least trying mediation, both have every incentive to agree.
If I Agree To Mediation, Do I Forfeit My Right To Go To Court If It Fails?
Your attempt at mediation never removes your right to resolution by trial. Whether completely voluntary or court-ordered, you are not obliged to come up with an agreement. Mediation simply gives you the opportunity to do so.
Going to mediation allows you to craft an ending to your problem without the need for someone to force a solution upon you or your opponent. You get to go to mediation and talk it out. If you’re not able to reach an agreement, you still have the option and the right to take your matter to trial.
At What Point During The Real Estate Dispute Process Should We Hire A Mediator?
The exact timing of when to hire a mediator is up to the two parties, though, ideally, you would hire one before trial but after you fully understand the nature of the dispute. This typically will be around three-quarters of the way through the process.
Which Party Pays For The Real Estate Mediator?
In all but the rarest circumstances the mediation and mediator fees are split. Both parties bear 50% of the cost.
In a standard Florida real estate contract, the Far-Bar contract, there is a specific paragraph about mediation and disputes. There it clearly states that each party has to share these costs.
Do Both Sides Expect To Compromise During The Real Estate Alternative Dispute Process?
It is up to each individual to determine whether they are ready to compromise during the mediation process. Regardless of your intentions, however, it is important to have a good attorney on your side to help you during your mediation, to know what your likely outcomes at trial would be and what you could expect if you fail to compromise.
If you feel confident that you are going to win at trial, there is no need to compromise if you do not want to. On the other hand, it may be in your best interest to give a little to get more, in which case it is a good idea to come into mediation open to compromise being an option. You never have to do anything you do not want to do in mediation, which is a benefit you will not see in a trial.
What Are The Advantages Of Mediating A Real Estate Dispute Versus Taking It To Court?
A trial is the only time in a real estate dispute when you don’t have full control over the decisions being made. A judge determines the ultimate outcome and it is final, irrespective of your opinion that it isn’t what you wanted to happen.
The ultimate advantage of mediation is that it gives you the ability to express yourselves and craft a solution that you can accept. When you’re working with an opposing party through mediation, a conversation can be had and arguments can be made in an effort to reach a mutually beneficial compromise. No one is forced to agree if they feel that the compromise isn’t to their benefit, however.
Once a judge gets involved, the opportunity to compromise on your own is removed. A judge’s decision is final and you are also sometimes limited in the information or argument you can give to impact that final decision. So, even if you feel confident that the judge will rule in your favor, sometimes things simply don’t pan out the way you feel that they should.
In addition to there being less risk involved with mediation, it is also significantly cheaper to mediate your dispute as opposed to taking it all the way to trial.
For more information on the Mediation Of Real Estate Disputes In Florida, an initial consultation is your first step toward an ideal outcome. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 266-7822 today.