Benefits of Family Law Mediation

The benefits of mediation include:

  • Cost—While a family law mediator may charge a fee comparable to that of an attorney, the mediation process generally takes much less time than a family law case that goes through standard legal channels.  A family law case where those involved are represented by attorneys, or represent themselves and in the hands of the court court may take months or years to resolve, but family law mediation usually achieves a resolution in much less time.  Depending on the issues and the people, results have even been obtained in a matter of hours.  Taking less time means spending  less money on hourly fees and costs;  and instead of hiring two attorneys, the parties hire one mediator, decreasing the cost even more.
  • Confidentiality—All Court hearings are public, but family law mediation remains strictly confidential.  No one but the parties to the dispute and the mediator(s) are entitled to know what happens. Mediation confidentiality is so important  that in most cases the legal system cannot force a mediator to testify in court as to the content or progress of mediation.  Many mediators destroy their notes taken during a mediation once that mediation has finished.
  • Control—Family law mediation increases the control the parties have over the final result.  In a court case, the parties obtain a result, but the control of  when and what that result is resides with the family law  judge.   Often, a family law judge  cannot legally provide the  solutions–and the final result– that emerge in mediation. Thus, family law  mediation is more likely to produce a result that is mutually agreeable for the parties.
  • Compliance—Because the result is  reached by the parties working together and is mutually agreeable, statistics have shown that compliance with the mediated agreement is usually high–and the vast majority of family law participants never see the inside of a courtroom.   This further reduces costs, because the parties do not have to employ an attorney to force compliance with the agreement. The mediated agreement is, however, fully enforceable in a court of law and will usually be incorporated in the final documents that are necessary in order to terminate the marital relationship.
  • Cooperation and Mutuality—Parties to a  f’amily law mediation are typically ready to work mutually and cooperated in reaching  a resolution. The readiness can be a result of their own desire to cooperate for the benefit of themselves and/or their children or be the result of having been involved in court proceedings which are not working out as they expected.  Often times, those involved in family law cases may be convinced by attorneys who they trust  that mediation better serves their interests.   In most circumstances the mere fact that parties are willing to mediate means that they are ready to “move” their position.  The parties thus are more amenable to understanding the other party’s side and work on underlying issues to the dispute. This has the added benefit of often preserving an ongoing working relationship between the parties after the marriage is terminated or the family law issues have been resolved.
  • Support—Family law mediators are trained in working with difficult situations. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator and guides the parties through the process– using different styles of mediation to help the people involved . The mediator helps the parties think “outside of the box” for possible solutions to the dispute, broadening the range of possible solutions. Even in cases where one or both of the parties believe they can not talk and cannot reach a mutual agreement, a trained family law mediator can help.  Statistics show that if the parties can agree to start the mediation–just start–then 75-85% of them will reach agreement on some if not all of the issues in dispute.