03 Nov Mediation in Divorce
Mediation in Divorce: The Pros and Cons
Mediation in divorce is common. It describes a process where a specially training Attorney meets with both parties to a case, and tries to come to a compromise. The mediator will listen to each side, review the facts, and apply the law to come to the most likely compromise in the circumstances. There are two instances where mediation is used in divorce:
Court- Ordered Mediation
Some jurisdictions regularly order mediation in contested divorces. By doing this, they claim to be saving money in attorney’s fees by resolving the case quicker or at least narrowing the contested issues as much as possible.
Voluntary mediation is taken proactively by the parties. This is seen a lot in divorce cases that aren’t exactly uncontested, but have only a few issues to fight over from the get go. These individuals make the choice in advance to try to save some money and time by mediating the disputed issues.
Neither form of mediation is binding in family law. That means that the parties do not have to accept the recommendations of the mediator. It is still in the hands of the parties.
Here are some benefits of mediation:
- It can potentially save you money by resolving the case faster or at least narrowing the issues down. Perhaps there are some warm-button problems that can be resolved through mediation whereas the hot-button issues will still be traditionally litigated
- It satisfies a requirement for some Courts, which shows the Judge that you are willing to “do your part” to work with the other side towards a resolution. Failing to do Court-ordered mediation may result in contempt, sanctions, or could otherwise hurt the Judge’s opinion of your legal case.
Here are some cons of mediation:
- It can potentially cost more money if it fails to resolve the case or enough issues to offset the costs of the mediation itself.
- It is set up to fail if one of the parties has an attitude or unwillingness to compromise, which is found extensively in contested family law situations.
In general, mediation is a positive and cost-saving device for family law. When not required,
parties who settle their cases in mediation can get deep discounts through my a la carte lawyering fee structure to have the finishing paperwork drafted and filed with the Court. When required by the Court, you are not only satisfying an obligation by actively participating in mediation, but you are likely saving money by reducing the issues to be litigated.