WHY CHOOSE DIVORCE MEDIATION
Before considering litigation, couples should always keep an open mind about divorce mediation. Cases that resolve without having to go through court, a trial or arbitration can often save the parties time and money.
- Mediation is voluntary and non-binding. Mediation is a voluntary process. Parties agree to use a private third-party to help settle their case. People sometimes confuse mediation with arbitration. Much like a judge, the arbitrator makes decisions about the case and decides the case. Arbitration is binding on the parties. On the other hand, a divorce mediator is not deciding any issues about the case. The mediator is hearing both sides’ positions. The mediator then works with the parties toward a resolution that the parties can both agree to. A divorce mediator does not decide issues of the case or make any binding rulings about the case. A mediator is an unbiased, impartial third-party working with the parties to help them reach an agreement about their case.
- Mediation takes place with a private mediator in their office and not court. The parties voluntarily agree upon the selection of a divorce mediator. When choosing a divorce mediator, select an attorney with family and divorce law expertise. An experienced lawyer can help frame the issues and move the parties closer to an agreement. Most divorce mediators practice family and divorce law and have a divorce mediation practice as part of their legal services.
- Negotiations during the mediation are privileged. Negotiations during mediation cannot be brought up in court or during litigation. The rationale for this rule is that the courts want people to be able to communicate and negotiate freely. In order to assist the divorce mediation process, the discussions and negotiations during the divorce mediation are prevented from being used against the other party. This leads to a better chance at resolving the case.
THE DIVORCE MEDIATOR HELPS SETTLE THE CASE
- Settling the case. When selecting a divorce mediator, choose someone you feel comfortable with from the start. The divorce mediator is not there to make friends, however you do want to work with someone you like and who is attentive, supportive, and impartial. Be cautious of selecting a mediator if they believe you more than the other side, or make a value judgment about the case or people involved. The mediator’s role is to guide you through the divorce process, facilitate discussion, and assist in reaching a resolution. A successful mediator is able to have each party questioning the strength of their case and focus on shared goals. A successful mediation leaves the parties feeling that they have been heard and their needs have been addressed. It is important to reach common ground so both sides will abide by the terms of their agreement.
- Even if the case does not settle with mediation, it could still be a success. Divorce mediation is a process. It is hard to settle cases in one day or even several months. Sometimes it is clear during the mediation the parties cannot reach an agreement. Sometimes it takes the divorce mediator working with the parties for weeks or months to arrive at a settlement Even if it takes longer than expected, it is still a better option than litigation which can last a year or more.
- What if the case does not settle. It is still beneficial for the parties to start in mediation rather than going straight to litigation. Mediation is a way to see where there is agreement and then narrow down the issues. If the mediation ends, the parties can continue working toward an agreement with the assistance of their own individual lawyers and still avoid litigation.
Couples often choose divorce mediation because mediation is faster, less expensive and less contentious than a traditional litigated divorce process. Mediation is also often a “one-stop” option for couples, as the divorce mediator prepares the full divorce settlement agreement and provides the paperwork necessary for the divorce to become final with a court. Contact Joseph Maya and the other attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@mayalw.com with questions regarding divorce mediation.
Written by: S. Wakefield – Maya Murphy, PC. – SWakefield@mayalaw.com.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce mediator or a divorce or family law attorney, please contact Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221- 3100 or email JMaya@Mayalaw.com. We offer free consultations to discuss divorce mediation and all other areas of practice offered at the firm. https://www.mayalaw.com