Family Law Courts have very full schedules with long lineups of cases pending. The Courts have limited time to give a full hearing to couples in dispute and often must render decisions based on limited time and information. In contrast, the mediation process provides disputants with ample time to voice their concerns and to explain what each values in his or her relationship with the children.
- Mediators are trained in equalizing the “power levels” between the parties so each can feel confident in crafting an agreement that is fair and equitable.
- Mediators can facilitate constructive communication between parties that serves as a model for settling future issues that are sure to arise.
- People do not need to retain attorneys for mediations to be successful. Such cases without attorneys are called “pro se.” I find that when attorneys are present for mediation sessions they can provide valuable legal advice to their clients and assist them in appreciating that they cannot always get everything they might want.
- Mediation is generally much less costly than when disputes are litigated through the Courts. Mediator fees vary and are based on an hourly rate that is shared between the parties.
- In short, when people agree to mediate their disputes, they are more motivated to reach an equitable resolution. Their agreement can be customized to their unique circumstances, and it is faster and less costly than going to Court. It can be far less adversarial than a protracted legal battle, and children emerge as the winners when their parents keep the child’s best interests at heart.