The underuse of the mediation process seems to be largely attributable to the fact that many people are unaware of what a mediation session is and how beneficial it can actually be. In family disputes, mediation can be extremely rewarding, saving parties time, money and sanity.
The rules of mediation: you create them
In mediation, parties are not bound by many of the rules that govern judges’ decision making. As a result, parties can reach solutions that might not otherwise be available from a court. For example, if there is a dispute over child support or child custody, rather than having a judge decide the amount of support or amount of visitation based on guidelines and factors required by statute, parties are free to negotiate an amount or time deemed reasonable to both.
The outcomes: you decide them
In mediation, you are free to discuss with your spouse what is important to both of you and try to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. It differs from litigation in that parties avoid the uncertainty, time and stress associated with going to trial. Parties are able to hear and understand the other’s point of view and with the guidance of a mediator, this enables parties to reach a middle ground . Because the mediator does not have the authority to make decisions, it is ultimately the parties making their OWN decisions over their OWN lives.
However, a good mediator should have some family law experience and be able to offer practical guidance to the parties. A mediator with family law experience can offer parties insight as to what might and might not be granted in court, ensuring that no request is unreasonable or disadvantageous to the other spouse. This can make the mediation session much more productive.
Progress: in the mediation room and beyond
Lastly, even if you don’t settle all your divorce issues, chances are you did resolve some. Even having resolved one issue is progress. Further, the tenants of mediation promote cooperation and communication. Thus because parties are provided the opportunity to resolve their own case, mediation tends to reduce hostility and preserve ongoing relationships.
While divorce mediation works in many situations, it is not always appropriate. Litigation is often the best option in situations where there is domestic violence, one party refuses to cooperate in making required disclosures, or communication between the parties is impossible. If you have any questions about divorce mediation and would like to speak to an attorney, please contact Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri for further information. Keep in mind that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.