What Options Are Available In Resolving Family Law Matters?
There are four basic areas that need to be addressed during the process of any divorce. Those areas include the timesharing or parenting plan when there are children involved, the calculation of child support, any asset or liability distribution, and addressing the issue of alimony or spousal support.
What Exactly Is Mediation In Family Law Cases?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party aids people by working toward reaching a voluntary agreement between the parties on the issues of divorce. It tends to promote understanding by both parties towards the perspective of the other person. It helps each side to focus on their own interests and not be concerned with what the other party’s position is. It’s a situation where creative problem solving factors in, so that it is not necessarily dividing the pie into straight, equal parts as much as it is the drawing of curved lines to divide the assets and liabilities in such a way that the assets can remain principally intact. Mediation is supporting the parties in reaching their own solutions and suggesting creative problem solving approaches towards those particular areas not agreed upon.
What Are The Clear Benefits To Mediation? Are There Any Drawbacks?
A primary benefit of a divorce by mediation is that the parties determine the specific details of their settlement agreement as opposed to a Judge telling them what will happen next in their lives. Another benefit to mediation is the opportunity for creative, unique solutions that will work best for a particular couple or family. Mediation is confidential, so the parties can negotiate in good faith. Mediation reduces the stress associated with a litigated divorce, and mediation allows the family to retain their assets as opposed to paying legal fees. A mediated divorce can be completed in a matter of weeks versus an attorney driven divorce that can take over a year to resolve. In terms of drawbacks, I would say there aren’t any because the process is a totally voluntary one. No one is asked to sign on to any type of an agreement, unless they have agreed to the components of the agreement.
Who Is Mediation Best Suited For? Is It For Everyone?
Mediation certainly can provide a foundation for settlement of issues in any situation. Whether it’s a divorce, a contract issue, or an insurance dispute, it gives everyone an opportunity to be directly involved in the decision making instead of having it get turned over to attorneys or a Judge. I believe that it’s in everyone’s best interest to participate in trying to reach a compromised solution as opposed to a litigated solution.
Are There Any Areas Of Family Law Where Mediation Is Not A Viable Option?
Mediation is viable in all areas of family law. When there is a very involved estate or business structure, mediation allows for subject matter experts to be brought into the process to give a business valuation, value property, or approach the division of an involved structured business. Attorneys can be brought in as part of the mediation or can be consulted separately from the active mediation. One always has the ability to consult with an attorney, and therefore any of the input that an attorney might give can also be transferred into the mediation situation.
When Can We Start Mediation?
Mediation can be started at any time. The families I work with generally begin mediation before beginning any action in the court. That helps to keep the entire process more amicable as opposed to having someone a file a petition and the other party “getting served” served the petition by a Deputy Sheriff. That creates its own emotional state and sets the tone. For many, if not all, it is a much more acceptable approach to be able to sit down and work out all the details together, before any actions have been filed in court. That way there are no court imposed deadlines on moving forward, and the timeframe of the proceedings remains in the control of the couple.
What Does The Mediator Do During The Entire Process?
During mediation, the mediator will be listening to both parties and have an opportunity to get a sense of the position of each party; both the tangible position and the emotional position, and therefore be able to help structure suggestions for the couple to consider options that would meet the needs of both. Having a structured settlement determined by someone else and imposed on you does not necessarily meet the needs of either individual.
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