Family Law Articles

Mediation is a private process that involves a proven approach to resolving cases by agreement with the assistance of a skilled mediator.  Mediation is highly effective in settling cases and therefore, courts often order parties to mediation before they are allowed to have a hearing or a trial.  Because mediation is so successful, parties often opt to try mediation early in a case to avoid the expense of a trial and to resolve the case long before the case would get to trial.  Mediation can be used for only select issues or for the settlement of the entire case.

The mediator is a family law attorney that has additional training and experience in helping parties reach creative and acceptable solutions to all or some of the issues in the case.  The mediator will go back and forth between the rooms and help identify areas where each party can move on their position to reach an agreement.  Mediators help identify what is important to each party and strive to reach an agreement that each party can live with.

Mediators moved to virtual or remote mediation during the pandemic and were surprised to find that mediation was just as successful, if not more successful, when conducted remotely.  Parties reported feeling less stress and being able to focus on solving the conflicts when they were no longer worried about seeing their spouse or the other party during the mediation day.  Remote mediation also protects parties when there are allegations of family violence.  Today, both remote and in person mediation are available.

The mediator cannot force a settlement and does not make any determinations in the case except to determine when a case has reached an impasse and further mediation will not likely resolve the case.  The mediator only reports to the Court that the parties did or did not mediate in good faith and that the case did or did not settle.  The mediator cannot be called to testify as to what occurred during mediation and neither party can testify about what offers were or were not made. 

If agreements are reached during mediation, the mediator will draft a mediated settlement agreement that contains the terms of the agreement for all the parties and their attorneys in attendance to sign.  Once this agreement is signed it cannot be changed. 

The agreement is then filed with the court.  The parties can start operating under the agreement immediately, however, it will likely take 4-8 weeks longer to enter the final order with the Court.  During this time the final order is drafted by the attorneys and any closing documents are prepared. 

Mediation is far less stressful than litigation, less expensive than litigation, and is highly effective at resolving cases.  Most courts not only encourage mediation but require mediation before a case can go to trial.  While most clients will doubt the effectiveness of mediation before they attend mediation, approximately 85% of cases settle at mediation.  Mediation works for the vast majority of cases.

Mediation is an excellent way to privately resolve your case in a less stressful, less expensive, and more productive manner.  Parties that resolve their case in mediation are more likely to coparent in the future and harbor fewer negative feelings toward each other than parties that go to trial.  A case can get to mediation quicker than a case can prepare for trial helping parties to resolve their issues earlier so the healing process can begin.  Also, trials are aimed at discrediting the other party which leaves lasting damage long after the trial is over.

An experienced divorce attorney knows how to properly prepare for mediation to give your case every chance of success at settling.  Robin R. Zegen knows how to prepare for mediation and how to evaluate when a case is ready for mediation.  Call Robin R. Zegen for a consultation today.