Mediate – Mediate – Mediate
These are the first words I utter whenever someone I know, or have met, says they are going to be suing someone. And yes, a divorce is one party suing another. If you are contemplating suing anyone for anything, consider mediation.
There are many advantages to mediation, few drawbacks and no reason not to give it a try. The worst that happens is that you have spent some money and some time, but in exchange you do get some information from the other side which can be helpful if you decide to proceed to the court house. This is not to say you should use mediation as a tool for discovery, but instead, consider it an opportunity to organize yourself, prepare for battle and hope to reach a settlement which is fair and one you can live
Mediation has increased in popularity as the costs of litigation have skyrocketed. Mediation is an alternative method of dispute resolution which encourages direct communication between the disputing parties. Proponents of the mediation process believe that these structured communications can result in a long lasting effective agreement because they are borne of the parties’ voluntary efforts and not those of their attorneys.
Mediation is also a process that is much faster than the court system. This is partly due to the over burdened court calendar and also due to the popularity of litigation, finding the most effective and prevailing attorneys often unavailable. A typical mediation takes approximately seven hours to complete. It is therefore both cost effective and time sensitive.
Mediation often results in a preservation of relationships. It is not adversarial, not confrontational, and often times find the parties able to compromise. By its nature, the parties are forced to communicate, if not directly with each other, then through the mediator. Oftentimes, the parties have learned something about each other, have focused on the underlying cause of the dispute and willingly reach agreement.
Mediation allows you to have control over your litigation. This is tremendously important. One never knows if the judge has had a prior experience with someone you remind them about. Perhaps you were that girlfriend who jilted him in the 10th grade, or the guy on the field who unfairly tagged him out. Or you might have been the guy who broke her heart or the girl who stole the love of her life. Everyone has a history, walking into a court room risks the judge’s past and could become your present and future. A very well known family law attorney is quoted as saying “try to avoid the person in the black robe at all costs. You never know what that person will do with your case”.