Mediation: Reaching Mutually Satisfactory Resolutions
Family law mediation is becoming an increasingly popular option for families that want to resolve legal issues amicably. Parties embroiled in a legal dispute often become enemies through the adversarial litigation process, which harms every member of the family. Mediation puts the decision-making power back in the hands of the parties who will be most affected by the resolution of the case and emphasizes the importance of cooperation.
What Is The Process Involved In Mediation?
Mediation is a negotiation that is carefully guided by a trained professional. A mediator is an impartial person who represents neither side of a legal dispute. His or her role is to try to get the parties to realize the risks of taking their case to court and to realize the benefits of coming up with their own settlement agreement. He or she listens to each party’s side and provides information to the parties.
However, the mediator is not a decision-maker like a judge. The parties decide whether they reach an agreement and what the terms of that agreement are. The mediator is instrumental in helping the parties come up with creative solutions that work best for their family.
How Is Mediation Started?
In California, mediation may be initiated by the family court or may be voluntarily entered into by the parties involved in a family law dispute.
What Types Of Cases Are Resolved Through Mediation?
Family law cases of many varieties can be resolved through mediation if the parties are willing to work together to reach a peaceful resolution of their case. Cases that have been resolved through mediation include those involving:
- Legal separation
- Division of property
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Parental relocation
- Child support
- Spousal support
What Are The Benefits Of Mediation?
Mediation allows the parties to come up with their own agreement and avoid boilerplate judgments imposed by judges who are unfamiliar with their family and their individual needs. Because the parties help come up with the agreement, they are less likely to disobey it or try to have the court modify it later. The parties learn to work together so that they can have a positive relationship going forward. Mediation is confidential, so what is said in mediation cannot find its way into a courtroom. Mediation minimizes family conflict and creates the possibility for greater harmony.