When faced with family law issues, such as divorce, paternity, and post-divorce issues, parties have many options for resolution. This includes litigation, conciliation, self-representation, and mediation.
A successful option for families can be mediation. Mediation offers a collaborative and cost-effective approach that works best for people who are able to work cooperatively. A mediator does not act as counsel to either or both parties but is there to help facilitate the parties in negotiating and attempting to reach a resolution. A mediator does not give legal advice and while parties should have their own attorneys for legal advice and review of agreements, the parties are not engaged in active litigation.
The benefits of mediation are outlined below.
1. Promotes Amicable Resolution:
Family law mediation encourages open dialogue and cooperation between the parties involved. Unlike litigation, which can involve an adversarial environment, mediation focuses on finding common ground and reaching mutually agreeable solutions.
Mediation is generally more cost-effective than litigation, especially when the parties are on the same page. In a litigated divorce, usually both parties hire separate attorneys, and can spend considerable time in court. While court intervention can be necessary in cases, the goal of mediation is to work with the parties and in some cases the parties and their attorneys to amicably resolve issues. Prolonged litigation can deplete family financial resources.
3. Timely Resolution:
Family law litigation can be a lengthy process, often taking years to reach a final resolution. The parties are on the court’s time standards and availability. Mediation moves at the parties’ pace. Since mediation sessions are scheduled at the convenience of the parties involved, it allows for the parties to dictate how long the process takes.
4. Focuses on the Family Unit:
Mediation encourages parties to make decisions in a calm and non-adversarial environment. This does not mean that everyone will always get along or always agree on every issue. The mediator’s role is to assist the parties to think about the immediate and long-term needs of the family and jointly reach an agreement on the issues. Choosing a family law mediator is often a more amicable and cost-effective path to reaching a resolution on divorce, paternity, modifications, and contempt actions.