Is mediation mandatory or voluntary?
Mediation is either mandatory or voluntary, depending on the kind of case involved. Mediation is mandatory if it involves contested custody or visitation rights. A petition for stepparent or grandparent visitation also needs to go through mediation. However, mediation is also voluntary in that parties can still chose to go through mediation even when not required by law.
When should parties explore mediation?
Divorce mediation is best entered into if both parties have already accepted the fact that the marriage has ended. The mediation might not end up being successful if one party still believes that the marriage can continue.
What are the roles of the participants in mediation?
In mediation, the role of the mediator is to assist the parties in arriving at an agreement or settlement. It is the parties themselves who are responsible for finding common ground or solutions between themselves.
What are the goals of mediation?
Some of the goals of mediation are:
- Foster productive communication and cooperation to arrive at workable settlements
- Discourage communication that inhibits settlement such as verbal attacks.
- Explore alternative options in settling issues
- Draft a plan that satisfies the parents’ schedule and children’s best interests.
How do I determine if mediation is appropriate for my divorce?
It has to be determined on a case-to-case basis. There is no single test that can be used to determine whether mediation is a good idea. The motivations of each party must be taken into consideration. In order to arrive at an informed decision, it’s best to consult with a lawyer, and possibly retain a consulting attorney for mediation or collaborative divorce.
What are the benefits of mediation?
There are several benefits of mediation including:
- Parties resolve their issues between themselves instead of submitting the issue to a judge for resolution.
- Parties can jointly choose a mediator whereas they are assigned a judge in divorce litigation
- Parties have flexibility in scheduling and working out issues
- Mediation is more private than court
- Mediation encourages productive communication rather than adversarial dialogue that’s common in family court.
- The mediation process can be less traumatic on the children as contentious custody disputes are not aired in court.
- Mediation has the possibility of a faster resolution than contested litigation.
- Parties who work together can save money in mediation.
What are the risks involved in mediation?
There are also some risks involved in mediation. The primary risk is that parties are primarily responsible for coming to an agreement, and this might result in an unfair settlement. Parties may end up spending more if the mediation agreement is challenged in court.
Can I consult with an attorney during my mediation proceedings?
Yes, parties can employ attorneys to consult with during mediation. They are referred to as ‘consulting attorneys.’
What are the things that a consulting attorney can help me with?
The following are services a consulting attorney can provide:
- Reviewing the mediation agreement
- Giving the client procedural advice
- Help the client identify relevant issues
- Guide the client through documents
- Explain the law
- Suggest solutions and strategies.
At what point can I withdraw from meditation?
A party can choose to withdraw from or terminate mediation at any time. The law does not limit the reasons applicable to withdrawing or terminating mediation.