Divorce proceedings can be multi-faceted and involve multiple areas of potential dispute. From an initial break up, issues arise with respect to establishing a parenting plan, temporary financial support, maintenance of debt, securing and itemizing assets. Further into the process, issues arise with respect to the division of the community assets and debt, a long-term parenting plan, long-term child and spousal support and fees incurred for the professional assistance and costs involved.
Every divorce eventually resolves, the issues are addressed and decisions made. Traditionally, the way to reach resolution was through the courts where one spouse petitions for divorce and frequently asks the court for temporary orders regarding child custody, child and spousal support and fees. Other cases are more complex and could involve requests for restraining orders and orders relating to assets and debts. With the current fiscal troubles governments are faced with, there has been a significant cut back in the spending on courts. The cut backs have resulted in a longer line in order to ever get your issues addressed. It is not uncommon today for litigated divorces to take literally years to resolve. The financial and emotional drain on the family is often devastating.
Mediation is often resorted to by couples who are deep into the divorce process as they are frustrated with the pace of the proceedings and lack of control over the outcome. Mediation, however, could be the first step in the process before resorting to litigation.
Mediation offers the parties the opportunity to sit down and discuss the issues right away, thereby saving the time lost in simply waiting for a court date. Mediation is confidential so your dispute is not part of the public record to be viewed by anyone who may have an interest, such as potential future employers. This savings of time equates to savings of money and the emotional upset that all too frequently accompanies litigation. Most parties who agree to mediate are going to succeed in reaching an agreement that they crafted rather than take the chance of obtaining a different result from an over-worked judge who simply does not have the time to understand the family and the dispute. Mediation can also be more creative in finding solutions because the mediation and your agreement does not have to follow how a judge would decide a particular issue.
Mediation is fair to both sides as the mediator is a neutral party not advocating for one party against the other, but one who facilitates the process and with a grasp of applicable law, able to provide assistance as to how the law applies to the family’s situation.
Mediation offers the parties opportunity to obtain independent legal advice if the parties so choose. A good mediation ends with a thorough understanding of the terms of the agreement and how they were reached.
Mediated agreements are also more likely to be followed and implemented because they are not simply a ruling from the bench. The agreement will become an order of the court as it is presented to the court for execution by the judge and filing with the court. The judgment stands as legal as any other judgment of the court and is enforceable as such.
I have been mediating cases for in excess of 20 years. The number of cases I mediate steadily grows each and every year. The financial and emotional savings for those clients is enormous.
If confronting divorce, mediation IS for you!