Mediation in Divorce and Family Law Cases
WHAT IS MEDIATION?
In many states, mediation has gone from being an option to help resolve issues to a mandatory part of the court proceedings. That is particularly true in cases that involve divorce or custody disputes.
Mediation is called an alternative dispute resolution process. In short it provides you with an alternative to Court to create your own agreements and craft your own orders without submitting those matters to the Judge. This is often a preferred way to resolve disputes in a divorce. The alternative is to proceed to Court and allow a Judge, a complete stranger to you and your children, to hear a few short arguments and testimony and decide your fate. Often such orders may seem like pounding round pegs into square holes with out understanding fully the individual circumstances of the parties. Clearly that is in no one’s best interest and often leads to the long roller coaster ride through court with each party filing new motions year in and year out to change the rulings that the Judge has made.
By contrast, mediation teaches the parties to communicate and to work through their issues productively. In the process, the parties to work with a neutral expert to resolve their disputes in a way that works for them. A mediator is also known as a qualified neutral.
The mediator may be a lawyer, a therapist, a religious leader or other qualified individual. As part of the mediation process, the mediator will not provide either party with legal advice and, instead, will work with the parties on their communication skills to understand the other parties position.
Often mediators will encourage the parties to incorporate into the proceedings other experts to help them in the decision making process,. This may involve the use of appraisers to value a home, accountants and investment counselors to address financial aspects, or a parenting consultant to work through custody and parenting issues. By using one neutral expert, the parties may save thousand of dollars that would be spent for each party to hire their own expert only to remain at an impasse with different results.
WHAT TYPES OF DISPUTES CAN BE RESOLVED THRU MEDIATION?
Mediation can be a useful tool for almost any issue that you encounter in family court. Even the most acrimonious divorces can benefit from mediation by helping the parties resolve some, if not all of their disputes, thereby simplifying the issues to be resolved through the court process.
Mediation may resolve:
disputes between divorcing parties including custody issues, spousal maintenance and property issues;
restraining order issues.
WHY SHOULD I MEDIATE?
1.Mediation is available any time both parties are willing to engage in the process, even if they are already involved in a contested court case;
2.Mediation is LESS EXPENSIVE than going to court with both parties to the dispute sharing the cost;