Which cases are appropriate for Mediation?
Not all parties will be able to have a successful mediation. If winning-at-all-costs is your goal, do not try mediation. Mediation works best when the parties wish to communicate honestly and fully. The couple must desire mediation as a means of putting a dignified conclusion to a relationship that will soon end.
What is Marital Mediation?
Not all married parties who go to a mediator request divorce mediation. Some seek marital mediation to utilize Dispute Resolution techniques to find solutions for their marital challenges. Couples may be seeking new ways of avoiding conflicts that have beset their marriage. Mediation can help a couple create positive communication skills. Some of the issues that are ripe for discussion are money matters, raising of children, infidelity, and dealing with stressful matters of any kind. In such situations, mediation operates as a change agent, helping avoid negative habits that threaten the marital relationship. The couple can communicate in a non-threatening environment that helps them focus on strategies to improve their marital dynamic. Unlike the therapy mode, neither party needs to feel they are being judged or evaluated. The emphasis is on finding new ways to deal with "old" issues. A mediator can help the couple do a reality check on whether or not divorce is the only solution for the marriage. As many couples who have divorced can attest, divorce sometimes solves some problems and created new ones in their place. Marital mediation can help the couple determine if divorce is indeed the only option for them to consider.
How will I know if Mediation is for me?
Since the introductory session has only a modest registration fee ($40 for 40-minutes), you would be well-served to go into the meeting with an open mind and with prepared questions and concerns. If mediation is not a process you seek, there is no pressure to continue in the process. For this reason, no retainer is sought in my mediation practice.
For those who desire mediation, but also wish to have legal support, the possibility of a Collaborative Divorce process exists. This process involves two attorneys but is non-confrontational in its design.
If Mediation is so positive a process, why is it not done more frequently?
I do not know the answer to this $64,000 question. Many couples believe that the litigation process is either the only route or the best route. As an attorney, I can say with some assurance that is indeed not the case.
What issues are discussed in Divorce Mediation?
The issues that frame divorce agreements form the basis of mediation sessions. Therefore property issues, support issues, visitation schedules, dispute resolution, are all part of the process.
Is there any issue for which Divorce Mediation may not prove successful?
It is difficult to find an issue that is not subject to the positive influence of mediation. However, bitter custody battles are least likely to be solved by mediation efforts.
There needs to be a “good fit” with your mediator. If you are not comfortable speaking with your spouse in the mediator’s presence, the likelihood of a successful mediation is diminished. This is why a consultation with no obligation is so important. You can talk with the mediator and determine how comfortable you feel in the session.
What happens if we mediate and can’t resolve all issues?
It is far better to mediate and resolve many issues than to litigate all issues. In most cases, the couple is quite likely to resolve all issues.
What happens if future disputes arise?
I put a clause in the agreements that all future disputes will be referred to mediation rather than the Courts. Couples are very comfortable with this option. In point of fact, studies show that agreements made via mediation are much more likely to meet with full compliance than are agreements made via court orders. (Studies show that 80% of mediated agreements will result in full compliance, while the number for litigated agreements that result in compliance is 45%)