Benefits of Divorce Mediation for Adults and Children

on Jan 24, 2018 in Divorce

Mediation is Peaceful

In a divorce, each party hires an attorney to represent his or her best interests.  Attorneys advocate for their clients.  In a traditional divorce, the case may settle through negotiation, or it may result in a trial.  In a mediation, the parties proceed with a different goal in mind.  The goal of the mediator is to work toward a settlement that benefits both parties.  The mediator maintains the peace.

When the parties hire a qualified, experienced family law attorney, that attorney interacts with the mediator on behalf of his or her client.  The mediator and the parties attorneys work through the issues for the benefit of both parents.

Mediation Prioritizes Children

The goal of mediation is to resolve differences and enter into a settlement agreement.  This benefits everyone, especially children.

In a custody dispute, your children testify and will be asked who they want to live with.  This is avoided in mediation.  In cases resolved by settlement, there is no trial.  No one testifies, including your children.  Nobody says hurtful things about the other parent on the record in an attempt to make themselves appear the better parent.

Litigation, including divorce litigation, is all-consuming.  The parties are stressed and preoccupied.  Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, the parties’ attention shifts away from the family unit.

In mediation, the focus is on the children and what is best for them.  Working through issues about custody, parenting time and responsibilities in mediation produces the best results for children.  In a trial, a judge that knows very little about your family, including your children, decides all of these issues for you and you will have to live with that result.

Mediation is Quicker and More Efficient

The court system is overwhelmed and court calendars are busy.  It is difficult to schedule hearings that work for both attorneys and the court.  The chances that this schedule is convenient for the parties are slim.  Courts are not sympathetic toward client’s work schedules, important meetings, or vacations.

The process takes time, leaving the parties in limbo.  

Mediation is much quicker and more efficient.  Mediation moves at whatever pace the parties choose.  The parties do not wait for a court date or a judge’s decision to resolve the issues.  

Mediation is Cost-Effective

Family law attorneys charge by the hour and in litigation, the fees add up fast.  Courts rarely schedule one case for a hearing, instead scheduling matters for a morning or afternoon calendar.  This means you are paying your attorney to sit and wait for your case to be called.

Mediation avoids this.  You are paying your attorney and the mediator during the mediation, but you are paying them to work.  And they are working to resolve your case in a way that maximizes benefits for both parties.

Communication is in Real Time

Typically, one client communicates with their lawyer.  Then that lawyer communicates with the other lawyer.  Then that lawyer communicates with their client.  The client needs time to consider the issue and then responds to their lawyer.  That lawyer conveys the response to the first lawyer.  Then that lawyer communicates with their client.  All of this is for only one communication and assumes both lawyers are immediately available.

During mediation, your attorney is not waiting for the other attorney to respond to a phone call or email.  Both parties are present, informing their attorneys what is acceptable immediately.  Typically, during mediation the parties are in separate but near by conference rooms with the mediator going back and forth, giving the parties private time with attorneys when appropriate.

Mediation Shifts Power to the Parties

In litigation, the attorneys and the judge have the power.  Attorneys make arguments, in writing and verbally, and the court makes a decision.  The attorneys represent the interest of their clients, but they decide how and what to argue.  The parties have very little power.

In a court hearing, the parties do not actively participate.  They may be seated at counsel table, but they do not address the court directly.  It is also difficult to communicate with your attorney during a hearing because your attorney needs to focus on what’s being said.  In mediation, each party takes a more active role in the process.  They are able to communicate positions on issues immediately, either through attorneys or directly to the mediator.  Mediation feels more empowering than the court process.  

Mediation is Fair and Results in a Practical Outcome

Because mediation is not binding, the parties do not feel pressured into a final outcome.  Parties often feel pressured into a resolution when the threat of litigation looms.  In some cases, a party reaches a point where he or she has to accept a deal or face the uncertainty of a trial — right now.

Even though their marriage is ending, the parties know what works best for their family.  This includes everything from custody, parenting time, plans for retirement and what happens to the family home.  When issues are left to the court, the judge makes decisions with limited information.  That information is what the lawyers present at a hearing or trial.  

Further, the parties can unfairly hurt their case by their testimony.  Some people just do not testify well.  Judges are human and this sometimes influences decisions they make.  Mediation avoids this potentially unfair characterization.

Mediation allows both parties to take charge of their future, even though the parties will not get everything they want.  In mediation, the active role the parties play makes the parties feel they got a fair shake.

Mediation Feels More Personal and is Confidential

Courthouse are big and cold.  Some courthouses appear designed to be intimidating.  Courtrooms are also very public.  Anyone can walk in and listen to your case.  The documents filed in court are also public.

Mediation takes place in an office or conference room, perhaps even your lawyer’s office.  Mediation is also private.  No court reporter records everything said.  Any documents used are also private.  The parties see the documents, but they are not available to the public.

If You are Divorcing

If you are divorcing, contact the law firm of Fait & DiLima.  Our family law attorneys mediate, negotiate, and, where appropriate, litigate family law cases every day.