What is Family/ Divorce Mediation?
Family mediation is the affordable, more amicable way for divorcing couples to resolve their issues regarding division of property, support, and children. Mediation is a negotiation process facilitated by a neutral mediator. The mediator uses her training and experience to generate a separation or divorce agreement acceptable to both parties. It is a voluntary, confidential process where the parties make the ultimate decision to resolve their issues.
What happens in Mediation?
The purpose of family mediation is to reach an amicable settlement in matters arising from divorce or other family conflict. The mediator assists the parties in identifying issues that need resolution, explore settlement options and formalize the agreement reached by the parties. The parties can then present the agreement to the court, in lieu of having their personal matters decided by a judge.
What problems are solved?
All matters associated with divorce and children are discussed: Division of assets and liabilities; payment of debts; development of a parenting plan, including timesharing, child support, travel; all support and alimony issues; and any and all other matters the parties wish to address.
What are the benefits of Mediation?
Mediation saves the parties thousands of dollars of attorney’s fees as opposed to family cases controlled by the court where evidence and discovery rules govern the case. The court process can take over one year in cases where there are assets and debts to be divided and where there are minor children involved. Mediating early saves money, time and emotional trauma associated with divorce or family disputes. Litigation destroys families and children. Children are exposed to adult matters and are often caught in the middle with feelings of guilt, anger and loneliness as their parents are focused on litigating every aspect of their lives.
Mediation is a flexible and confidential process where a mediator keeps the parties focused on the important matters that need resolving in a balanced and fair environment. Mediation is a voluntary process that continues so long as the parties wish to attempt to resolve their differences. If mediation fails, the parties can petition the court to adjudicate their dispute.
When should we attend Mediation?
Parties should attend Mediation when both parties come to a decision to separate and/or divorce and when the parties are fully informed of each other’s assets and liabilities.
Do we have to attend Mediation?
At some point, almost every family case is referred to Mediation by the court. Except as otherwise provided by law, all contested family matters and issues are referred to mediation. In many cases, it may be beneficial to the parties to mediate an agreement before filing for divorce and spending money on litigating matters in court.
Does each party have to retain an attorney for mediation?
Representation by an attorney is not required. Some parties may be already represented by counsel if there is an ongoing case. Parties not represented by counsel at mediation, may chose to have the mediated agreement reviewed by an attorney before signing it.
When is mediation unsuitable?
The thing about mediation is that it is unsuitable if any party is unable or unwilling to participate meaningfully in the process. Such situations are where there is fraud, duress, or fear of abuse. In any circumstances where there is an absence of bargaining ability, the mediation process must be stopped.
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