What is Mediation?
Mediation takes place when two parties utilize the services of a neutral third-party mediator to negotiate a final agreement between them to resolve their divorce, custody dispute, or other domestic relations matter.
The mediator will serve as a facilitator of the process and draft the necessary court documents at the successful conclusion of mediation. With a mediator present, the parties are given direction to stay on track with the ultimate result in mind, but also provided with a cooperative and collaborative atmosphere to discuss their concerns and positions relating to the divorce or other matters. Mediation is about working together to come to agreements that are in the best interests of the parties, their children, and the best interests of the family.
To initiate the mediation process, both parties need to agree to mediate. One or both parties may call the office to schedule the initial consultation with the mediator. Once the appointment is scheduled, the office will mail out to each party informational material that describes the process and policies of mediation as well as requests background facts from each party.
The mediators at Diment & Walker are experienced, practicing family law trial attorneys. The mediators are knowledgeable about the mediation process, likely trial outcomes, and legal parameters in family law cases, and they apply that understanding to each case they mediate.
Mediators at Diment & Walker can help parties resolve issues regarding:
- Distribution of Property (Assets/Liabilities)
- Child Custody and Parenting Time
- Spousal Support
- Family-owned businesses
- Retirements (PERS, IRA, 401(k), etc.)
- Child Support
- Life Insurance
- The family home or other real property
- Division of personal property
- Child Custody, Parenting Time Disputes
- Child Support
- Post-Judgment Modifications
- Custody/Parenting Time
Efficiency: Oftentimes, parties already have an agreement but would like to ensure the documents are drafted correctly. Or, parties will have a partial agreement and need guidance on finalizing the remaining terms.
Privacy: Courtrooms and court records are public. Mediation discussions and negotiations all take place behind closed doors and avoid the need for multiple court filings and court appearances. At the conclusion of the matter, the only documents that are typically filed are the basic petition or motion and the subsequent judgment outlining the final terms.
Less Adversarial: Initiating family law litigation through the court system is, by its nature, adversarial. Parties must be served, allegations are typically made, and parties are positioned to fight with each other. With the mediation process, parties work together to make compromises allowing an agreed-upon, amicable resolution to a marriage, a custody dispute, or other issue. This is particularly attractive in families with children wherein the parties will continue to be connected via parenting time after the conclusion of the divorce.
Flexible: When a court proceeding is initiated, a timeline for action is also generated. Parties are held to strict deadlines for requests, motions, hearing dates, and trials. While mediation can go as quickly as the parties like, it also can be a slower, more measured process during which the parties can gather information, bargain between themselves, and avoid the pressure of a looming court date.
Personal: In mediation, the parties reach an agreement together based on what works for their family. They are able to be creative and pragmatic based on the needs and desires they have for the future. Initiating a case in the courts can result in a judgment eventually being imposed on the parties by a judge or negotiated between attorneys for thousands of dollars.
The benefits of mediation are significant. If you believe you and your partner would be best served by this cooperative, collaborative process, call to schedule your initial consultation.