I offer mediation services for not only family law cases, but many other types of disputes. There are many reasons to try to mediate your case either before or during the legal process.
Mediation can be done all in one room or by each side being in a separate conference room. I have two conference rooms in my office available. When you come in for your mediation we will discuss whether to use one or both rooms. Mediating in the same room is generally better, however, sometimes it is necessary to separate, at least for a portion of the mediation.
The cost of litigation, financial and emotional, can be greatly reduced. It just makes more sense to try to work out an agreement with the other person than to spend time and money hiring an attorney and going to court.
If you proceed to court, even with an attorney, there is never a guarantee of the outcome. If you come to an agreement in mediation, you control the outcome. You make an agreement that you know you can live with. There are often surprises if you go to court and you may be very unhappy with the results.
- Personal Satisfaction
If you go to court, you will have a limited amount of time to “tell your story” and the judge is going to want to hear only facts. In mediation, you have an opportunity to really be heard. It can be very beneficial to hear what the other person is thinking and why and to let them know your thoughts as well. It can often be a big relief and you may leave mediation feeling much more positive and ready to move on. Many times you discover information at mediation that you simply did not know before.
When you take your dispute to court, your financial documents, perhaps medical records and other personal information is being seen and heard by the other person, the attorneys, the judge, the clerk, and any other people that happen to be in the courtroom during your hearing. If you mediate, you can keep many things private and less people will have access to personal information.
- Staying out of court
Studies show that people tend to comply with agreements that they made for themselves far more often than they comply with court orders that a judge imposes. This is because when people feel they had a “say” in the process, they are more satisfied with the outcome. If both sides abide by the agreement you reached, it can save the financial and emotional fall-out that comes when one or both of you stop obeying the court’s order.
You can schedule mediation before or after you are involved in litigation. Depending on what county your case is in and what type of case it is, you could wait a couple of years for a final hearing due to the court’s backlog of cases and the many steps you will have to take along the way. If you mediate and come to an agreement, you can move on with your life that much quicker. Mediation can be scheduled quickly which means your case could be over very soon.
- The children
Perhaps the biggest advantage to mediation (in a divorce or custody situation) is that the children will suffer far less emotional damage. Even the best parents who try to shelter the children from the litigation cannot do so completely. The sooner the case is over, the sooner a resolution is reached, the better for the kids. Think about this:
Do you really want a judge, who doesn’t know you, doesn’t know your children, doesn’t know about your life and circumstances, to tell you when you are going to see your children and tell you whether or not you get to make the major decisions that impact their lives?