Mediation is part and parcel of family law. It is required in almost every
divorce or custody case, and many jurisdictions are now ordering mediation
in domestic relations cases before a hearing for final orders will even
So what is mediation? Mediation is a process that brings the parties together
in a safe, confidential environment. A mediator is someone who acts as
a neutral third party who helps the parties address the issues, and helps
create a more open dialogue without making a final decision. Mediators
meet with both sides, and get a sense of what each side wants and helps
the parties reach some middle ground. Because the mediator is not a judge,
they cannot make a decision or tell you what to do, but they can help
you reach agreements, and can come up with unique solutions specific to
What are the benefits of mediation?
It’s cost-effective. Litigation is a timely and expensive process. Going to trial requires
a lot of preparation. Mediation allows you to address the issues without
the emotional and time-consuming expense.
You control the outcome. Mediators can’t make decisions for you. You (and your attorney)
get to choose which topics you want to discuss, and what areas you want
to settle. Mediation also allows you to decide the terms of your agreements
rather than having a judge tell you what to do.
It’s more personal. In mediation, you get to speak directly with the mediator, so that they
know exactly what you want, and your concerns. The mediator then tries
to propose resolutions that incorporates your wishes along with the other
It’s faster. Mediation can be set at any time during the divorce process. You don’t
have to wait weeks (or months!) for your next court date.
It’s confidential. Communications, documents, and notes that you use is mediation, stay
in mediation. Mediation is private and only the parties are present. Conversations
you and/or your attorney have with the mediator are privileged and confidential.
In Court, you are in front of a judge, a clerk and possibly, the public.
It’s less adversarial. A mediator’s job is to assist the parties in reaching a mutually
acceptable agreement and addresses the needs of everyone involved without
any additional bias. In a trial, you and your attorney are trying to put
your best face forward, and that often means making the other side look
bad. Mediation instead allows for more communications and cooperation,
and less conflict.
It’s unique to you. Mediators can be creative when coming up with solutions that will work
for you and our family and can result in more in-depth agreements.
It’s low risk. You can’t lose mediation. If an agreement can’t be reached,
parties can still pursue any legal remedies available including trial.
Divorce is already a stressful, and emotional situation. Mediation can
be a less demanding alternative to the pressure of the courthouse, and
the strain of going to trial.