What Mediation in Family Law Is
Mediation in family law involves both parties, like a divorcing husband and wife, meeting with a neutral 3rd party. This neutral 3rd party, is a person called a mediator. The mediator will try to help clarify the issues, facilitate communication between the parties, and help the parties reach an agreement on their own terms.
The mediator does not take sides. The mediator does not make the agreement for the parties. Lastly, the mediator does not have any decision-making authority like a judge does.
Along these lines, the parties don’t have to agree to anything if they don’t feel comfortable with it.
Advantages of Mediation
First and foremost, when the parties reach complete agreement in the mediation, they may then proceed to end the case. Any agreement the parties reach will go before a judge and generally will become a court order. This ultimately saves the parties time, money, and more emotional distress that comes with a long, drawn out trial.
In addition, the mediation process manages risk and gives the parties control of the process. If the parties don’t agree, a judge will ultimately decide the issues. This could leave either party in much worse a spot than had they reached a settlement agreement.
Finally, in family law situations which involve children, research has shown that children tend to be better adjusted later on when their parents can work together and reach an agreement themselves.
Mediation is an excellent option for parties in different family law situations, including divorces, child custody cases, and alimony situations. It’s so potentially valuable that in some cases, the parties may be ordered by a judge to participate in mediation to at least try to resolve their disputes with minimal court involvement. Mediation in family law cases should almost always be at least considered.