Why Mediation? What Does it Involve?
Mediation is a confidential, voluntary process in which the participants discuss their needs and concerns, and with the assistance of a mediator, utilizing problem-solving techniques, they reach agreements on the issues and create their own solutions. By resolving disputes in mediation, parties determine for themselves what is important and, ultimately the outcome of the situation. While the benefits of mediation vary somewhat depending upon the nature of the dispute, and the model of mediation applied, the following are some of the benefits typically associated with mediation.
◘ Low Cost: Mediation is generally much less costly than using the adversarial court system with a divorce lawyer.
◘ Speed: Mediating a family law matter is typically much faster than taking a case through the court system.
◘ Good for Kids: Decades of research have shown the negative long-term effects that divorce has on children. A long and drawn-out custody battle will possibly harm your children. Through mediation, children benefit as parents resolve their differences in a cooperative manner.
◘ CONFIDENTIALITY: The mediation process is confidential with no public record of what goes on in your sessions. Because everything that occurs within the mediation room is privileged and confidential, the parties cannot refer to what occurred or what was said during mediation in the future. Contrast this with divorce litigation where parties file pleadings in the public file and make allegations against each other in open court. Even more shocking to many litigants is that all their financial information is made public as a result of the divorce litigation – this is a huge surprise to many litigants!
◘ Your Schedule: Mediation sessions are determined by the parties and thus are held when convenient for them. Thus you don’t need to miss work or other activities as you would in litigation where you’re at the mercy of the court’s busy calendar.
◘ Control: In mediation, you and your spouse will receive counsel and advice from your mediator and advisors but all decisions ultimately are made by you and your spouse. This is quite different in litigation where you will relinquish all control and the determination of the issues is dictated down to you by the judge. That is why meditation is gaining popularity: it keeps you and your spouse in control of your divorce or legal separation. Do you want to decide where your kids will live or do you want to be told by someone that doesn’t really know anything about you how to live your life? For most, it’s an easy answer.
◘ Neutral: At San Diego Mediation, Scott Levin, CDFA values neutrality above all else. We guarantee that your mediator will not take sides or make any of the decisions for you and your spouse. The Mediator will provide information about relevant areas of the law, will help you to share information with each other, and help you to become well-informed. But all decisions are yours and your spouse to make and we will not favor one party over the other or any particular plan or method that the parties propose.
◘ QUALITY OF SETTLEMENT: Studies indicate parties entering into voluntary agreements through mediation are far more likely to adhere to and fulfill commitments made in such agreements than they are with judicially imposed resolutions.
◘ AVOID BAD OUTCOMES: Through mediation, parties avoid both the “win-lose” and “lose-lose” outcomes associated with litigation. Many parties who “win” in protracted litigation often find the overall time, energy, and monetary commitment associated with litigation comes at an enormous cost and loss. Those who lose in litigation surely feel even worse about such an outcome. Mediation can spare parties from all of this and enable them to move forward from disputes efficiently and effectively.
◘ EMPOWERMENT: Parties are empowered to decide for themselves whether and how they would like to resolve a situation. This self-determination aspect of mediation often corresponds to higher aspirations of how individuals and businesses want to conduct their lives and do business generally.
◘ Dignified & Safe: Parties to mediation get the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts in a safe and respectful forum and they also hear the other person express their point of view. The mediation process can improve communication between you and your spouse, helping to avoid future conflicts.
◘ One-Stop Shop: We typically can assist the parties in completing the necessary paperwork to begin and conclude their case. And so our mediation can result in the settlement of all the issues in divorce.
The foregoing are just some of the compelling reasons to mediate disputes. Moreover, there is seldom any serious downside to mediation. While some may hesitate “to put their cards on the table” in mediation, in this era of discovery-driven litigation, the old “trial by ambush” days of civil litigation are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Why mediation works is because it focuses on the parties’ own interests and agendas, and also because it provides the opportunity for parties to move beyond disputes efficiently and chart their own future. Call
San Diego Divorce Mediation and Family Law to learn more about why mediation is the preferred method of choice.