Family Law Mediation
What is it? Family law mediation is a court-approved use of a knowledgeable and impartial person to help you make informed decisions and develop mutually acceptable agreements in a wholly confidential setting. It is an alternative to the expense and trauma of litigation. Mediation promotes cooperation and communication. This is particularly important in reducing conflict when minor children are involved. Because you control the process, it is usually completed in far less time than if litigated, allowing you to move past this point in your life.
How does it work? In our practice, the mediator meets with both parties for an initial no-cost orientation, primarily to answer questions about the mediation process and to discuss what information will need to be obtained and exchanged. The next meeting is when the process begins. Problems are separated into specific issues for discussion and you are assisted in understanding, evaluating, and shaping options. Mediation continues until a mutually beneficial solution is found. A written agreement is drafted but unsigned until after you have each had the opportunity to have it reviewed by your own attorney. Once reviewed and signed, it is generally incorporated into a court order or judgment so that it may be enforced. The mediator is a neutral person who does not provide legal representation for either you or your spouse. The function of the mediator is to use creative and effective methods to assist you in resolving your difficulties.
Who is on the mediation team? Mediation starts with an experienced attorney, such as Ronald E. Gue, who has received specialized training in mediation. As needed, and with your approval, the team may also include professionals in therapy. These may include marriage and family counselors, accountants, appraisers, or other professionals. This team approach allows all legal and emotional issues to be addressed so that a fair agreement may be reached between you.
Must we both participate? Yes. The process of coming to an agreement requires that the opinions and insight of both of you be provided. Whether you are friendly or not, you need to be willing to seek and consider solutions that are fair, equitable, and meet the needs of all family members.
What if we cannot agree on everything? Even if it is not possible to resolve every issue, even partial agreements will significantly decrease the time, emotional strain, and expense of going to court. If you are already involved in a family law action, mediation may help you resolve the remaining issues without further court appearances.
Can mediation help divorced parents with changed lifestyles? Yes. When changes in lifestyle after a divorce affect parenting relationships, or the financial needs of either party, mediation provides a safe and impartial environment to discuss and resolve these volatile issues.
Does mediation work for separating couples? Yes. All separation issues, whether involving children, finances, assets, debts, support, etc. are virtually the same, whether the decision has or has not been made to terminate the marriage.
Would you, or is there someone you know who would benefit from mediation? Mediation referrals come from a variety of sources in addition to the involved parties, concerned family members, and friends:
- From clergy who recognize that families benefit from a cooperative approach to conflict resolution and who understand that parties should be encourages to resolve their differences in an expeditious manner consistent with their beliefs.
- From mental health professionals who understand that managing conflict enhances treatment, promotes healing and self-responsibility, and that reducing parental conflict benefits their children.
- From attorneys who know the financial and emotional trauma of the litigation process, and who recognize the need to minimize conflict in on-going relationships.
- From physicians who have seen the toll that emotional trauma has on patients and their families, and who know that patients’ problems often go beyond their physical condition.
- From accountants and financial advisors who see the value of cooperation in maximizing financial results, and who desire to protect their clients from the uncertainty and expense of the litigation process.
How do I start? To see if mediation will work for you, please use the contact us selection above.