What is mediation?
Do you help us with the court paperwork as a mediator?
My office will assist you with the completion of the court forms necessary to process your dissolution or legal separation matter, including the Petition, Summons, Declaration of Disclosure, Schedule of Assets and Debts, and Income and Expense Declarations.
We work together in drafting a Marital Settlement Agreement that gets attached to your Judgment form that is filed with the court. We schedule meetings every couple of weeks or so, or at your discretion, to keep on track and efficiently resolve your matter.
As a mediator, can you give us legal advice?
When I mediate cases, I look for more than just compromises. I look at each of the party’s individual needs, and their own goals for their future and their family’s future. Together we seek to identify mutual goals, and seek to understand what information is influencing decisions.
I have an ethical duty to instruct you to seek your own individual counsel for legal advice as part of the process, but there are many attorneys who are able to help you with that at a low cost.
Will the end result be the same as what a court would order?
When parties cannot agree, often they can agree to disagree, and still move forward with one of the solutions as “acceptable” even though it is not “perfect.”
Why is mediation better than going to court?
Many times I have witnessed both parties being upset with a judge’s ruling. In one case, the judge did not consider either parent’s work schedule, travel distances, or the children’s concerns. Both parents were stuck exchanging custody by court order at a police department parking lot, where the kids kept thinking they were in trouble because they had to go there.
Research has shown that people who make their own agreements, especially as parents, are far more likely to follow what they have agreed to do versus when a judge has shoved a result down their throats.
If a resolution can be reached, much anger and frustration can be avoided for everyone concerned.
What else is important to know about mediation?
Confidentiality is secured in mediation by written agreement and the process focuses on the future for your family and your finances.
Mediation is traditionally less expensive than having two attorneys fighting in court, and definitely more efficient than waiting around for a court hearing where someone else decides your matter for you.