Pre-suit mediation is an informal process where the parties meet with an impartial mediator in an attempt to address the marital issues and reach a mutual agreement resolving those issues, such as custody of the children, alimony, child support and a fair division of assets, prior to filing a lawsuit.

Pre-suit mediation occurs before costly litigation has ever been commenced and is handled outside the judicial system. Let's look at some of the advantages of pre-suit Divorce mediation:

One: Pre-Suit Mediation Is Fast

Mediation can be scheduled within a matter of weeks and in some cases, days.

Frequently, the entire divorce mediation - including preparation of a detailed Marital Settlement Agreement can be completed within 2-6 weeks. Divorce Litigation can take several years to complete.

Two: Pre-Suit Mediation Is Cheap

Pre-suit mediation is not free, but relative to litigation, it is very cheap. Mediation can often involve three, four, or five mediation sessions over several weeks but mediation eliminates the need for filing fees, discovery, and protracted attorneys' fees incurred over months, if not years. Many mediations are resolved within a matter of weeks at only a tiny fraction of the cost of litigation. Most of my pre-suit mediation cases will involve total fees - for both of you - of between $2,000 and $4,500. If a business or professional practice or millions of dollars of assets are involved, the fees will be higher. A contested divorce case which goes all the way to trial will frequently involve legal fees of between $30,000 and $50,000 per spouse!

Three: Pre-Suit Mediation Is Informal

Pre-suit mediation can be done in our Sarasota conference room with available coffee, soda, lunch, or donuts. The ambiance is informal. The dress is informal. The tone and tenor is informal. Pre-suit mediation is less intrusive, less cumbersome, less stuffy, less scary, and less inconvenient than the formal setting of a courtroom. Do you and your spouse prefer to resolve your divorce in our conference room or before a judge in the public setting of an open courtroom?

In the alternative, we offer Zoom videoconferences Monday through Saturday between 10 AM and 7:30 PM. All you need is a smart cell phone, an Ipad, a notebook computer or a desktop computer , either a Mac or a Windows PC. You and your spouse can even be in different cities or states!

Four: Pre-Suit Mediation Is Empowering

In pre-suit mediation, the parties control it. The spouses make offers and counter- offers. The spouses interface directly with the mediator, unlike a courtroom in which the attorneys do most of the talking. And most importantly, the parties get to tell their story. Everyone wants a “day in court,” a chance to be heard. Lawyers often hear: “If I could just sit down with the judge and explain this. . . .” You and your spouse can be more a part of any resolution in mediation. You and your spouse will not be told by a judge what the outcome will be, rather the two of you will fashion your own resolution of the matter! Do you and your spouse prefer to work out your own resolution to a problem, or would you prefer to be dictated to by a judge in open court?

Five: Pre-Suit Mediation Is Confidential

Trials are public. Pre-suit mediations in Florida are private and confidential, provided the Mediator is certified by the Florida Supreme Court, which Mr. Leininger is so certified. The statute providing for mediation confidentiality is broad, simple to understand, clear, and provides sanctions for its violation. Do you and your spouse prefer to keep your personal matters private or would you rather lay them bare in an open courtroom?


Mediation is a powerful means of resolving matrimonial disputes. When mediation succeeds, the parties move on with their lives – usually with much less harm to the children, and at a substantial savings in legal fees.

Most importantly - you have little to lose by trying Divorce Mediation. At any time, if you decide that you could do better litigating your divorce in court, you can simply tell your Divorce Mediator, who will then declare an impasse - and refund any unused retainer deposit. You and your spouse would then be free to litigate your Divorce in Court.

We offer a Free Consultation to couples interested in learning more about this alternative to Contested Divorce from attorney William J Leininger, one of Sarasota's most experienced Divorce Mediators. Call the law office of Attorney William J Leininger at 941-727-5555 or contact us online to schedule your Free Consultation. Mr. Leininger offers appointments on Monday through Saturday, including some evenings. What have you got to lose?

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