In mediation, the two parties meet face to face to discuss their issues with the help of a neutral mediator. The goal of mediation is first to identify each party’s needs and then find solutions that will work for both of the parties in the room and the children, if involved, who are not in the room. The parties are empowered to make their own joint decisions, using the law as one of many factors to be considered.
Role of the mediator… The mediator facilitates the exchange of all relevant information, helps each person express his/her needs and goals, manages the discussion of options, guides the parties through the issues that need to be addressed, provides resource information and referrals to experts (if necessary), explains the law, facilitates selecting the best resolution for both parties, and prepares the final settlement agreement.
Benefits of Mediation… There is no way to avoid the impact of a separation/divorce on a family, but I do believe that mediation can help to minimize the damage. When clients litigate, they tend to polarize on the issues and often never have the opportunity to understand the other party’s needs behind the requests being made. They may be stuck fighting over numbers when the real battle being fought is an emotional battle. Mediation offers clients an opportunity to look at the issues together on a deeper level so they can move through them with more understanding for each other and a more lasting agreement.
Cost-effective process… Mediation is often cost-effective, as there is usually only one attorney-mediator involved, although the parties are advised to seek advice from independent legal counsel prior to signing a settlement agreement. They may also choose to consult with their independent counsel during the mediation process.
Challenges in Mediation… Mediation is appropriate for all levels of conflicts, and certainly very useful in high conflict cases but much of the work must be done by the parties. Even if the conflict is high, they must be willing to listen to the other party and take the other party’s needs into account in order to facilitate a successful mediation. I’ve seen many separating couples find deeper understanding working through the conflict and having the tough conversations.
Confidential Process… The mediation process is confidential – nothing said in mediation can be used by either party during litigation in the event that mediation is terminated.
I am a trained and experienced family law mediator. I can provide confidential mediation services to a couple who is divorcing or separating, which includes preparation and filing of all documents necessary to obtain a Judgment of Dissolution or Judgment of Legal Separation. If mediation is desired, both parties must be present for the initial consultation.
I also work as a consulting attorney for individual clients who are already in mediation with another mediator and would like additional support and advice as they go through the mediation process.
On occasion, I have a separating party approach me for mediation services hoping that his/her partner will agree to participate in mediation but the partner proves unwilling to do so. In such cases, I am willing to represent the client seeking mediation in a peaceful negotiation with the other party or the other party’s attorney. I also work with other amicable clients who are interested in a non-adversarial resolution. However, I will not represent clients in court if the involved parties are unable to resolve the issues through negotiations. Instead, I will refer the client to a family lawyer who litigates.
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