Mediation is an essential piece of the family law puzzle. As the resources in our judicial system get squeezed tighter and tighter, more people are turning to alternatives to litigation to solve their differences. I have been practicing in the area of family law for almost twenty-five years and have been involved in hundreds of mediations. I have also seen many cases go to trial, when mediation could have resolved most, if not all, of the parties’ differences.
Mediation is based on the idea that the parties should be in control of their own lives. It requires that the parties take an active role and that the mediator act as a facilitator. I believe the participants in any family law dispute are in a much better position to resolve issues than an outside authority, such as a judge. In addition, it has been my experience that people are more likely to abide by agreements they reach on their own, than a decision made by a judge.
More specifically, family law mediation is a process in which a mediator, an impartial third-party, facilitates the resolution of family disputes by promoting the participants’ voluntary agreement. The mediator assists communication, encourages understanding and focuses the participants on their individual common interests. Family law mediation is not a substitute for legal advice, counseling or therapy. Nor is it appropriate for all families. However, family law mediation is a valuable option because it can:
- Reduce the economic and emotional costs associated with family law disputes;
- Increase the self-determination of participants;
- Increase the participants’ ability to communicate; and
- Promote the best interests of children.
If you, or someone you know, believe that mediation is the right solution, please contact me.