Individuals may question why to mediate a family law issue. Because it works! Parties in conflict find mediation to be a less stressful, less expensive and less adversarial way to resolve their disputes. Studies show that couples who choose to mediate their divorce rather than litigate are more likely to talk regularly about their children’s needs and problems, to take part in school events, daily activities, vacations and holidays. With mediation the neutral mediator helps the parties identify the issues in dispute and then facilitates their negotiations toward the goal of developing mutually beneficial agreements. Choosing to work together in mediation eases the financial burden of divorce, improves communication between the parties and gives them both control over the outcome (subject to court approval).
Not Every Situation is Right for Mediation
Mediation is not for everyone. Next to violent crime and terminal illness, divorce ranks as one of the most traumatic experiences of a person’s life. Sometimes one party is caught completely off guard or is completely unprepared upon being served with divorce papers. Alternatively, because of the inherent stress between the parties, one or both parties may be unready or unwilling to sit in the same room to discuss issues regarding minor children or the final disposition of the marital estate. In those cases, the parties’ individual attorneys are best suited to assist in resolving the case, it is often most helpful for each party to retain separate legal counsel.
How to Choose a Mediator
Choosing a mediator is much like choosing a physician. Rapport is important. Remember, you will be discussing some of the most intimate details of your family, so you need to choose a mediator you are comfortable talking in front of and sitting with in a room. You can also ask your attorney’s impression of the mediator. At times, the court will take the selection process out of the party’s hands. A mediator’s experiences is critical. At our office, both James A. Tabor and Elizabeth A. Tabor are not only a family law attorneys, but each is also a certified mediator with hours of experience assisting parties to reach resolutions.