What to Expect in Your Family or Divorce Mediation
Mediation Gives You Control
Mediation is an opportunity for you to control how your family or divorce case is settled and how all issues, including those related to property, possession of children, child support, residential restrictions, injunctive relief and alimony, are resolved. It is a process that puts all the power in your hands, as well as the flexibility to create solutions for your family that are unavailable to the court.
Available at Any Time
Mediation is available at any time during a family law or divorce proceeding, including for temporary orders, final decrees or modifications, or while on appeal. It can be ordered by the court or voluntarily agreed to by the parties, and is most effective when both parties have the intention to settle. This comes most often after each party, with the help of their lawyers, has identified all the issues and all the facts required to resolve them.
Qualities of a Great Mediator
While good family law and divorce mediators are both practicing family law lawyers and trained in mediation, the best family law and divorce mediators are former family law judges like James Lombardino who can see the advantages and disadvantages of both sides of the case, and give both sides insight into what to expect if they take their cases to court. While good family law mediators have mediated in excess of 250 family law cases, great family law and divorce mediators like James Lombardino have resolved disputes in upwards of 15,000 family law and divorce cases.
Finding the Common Ground
At mediation, you and your lawyer are usually in one room, with your spouse and his or her lawyer in another at the mediator’s office. You dress comfortably to be as relaxed as possible for the mediation. The mediator will start with hearing first from one side and then from the other to get an understanding of the issues and facts from the perspective of both parties, then go back and forth to find where progress can be made in resolving them. Great mediators get to know the needs and desires of the parties, as well as the individual strengths and weaknesses of their cases, and guide the parties in finding common ground and solutions where they both come away with something they want, and feel they have been treated fairly and equitably.
Your Privacy Guaranteed
According to the Rules of Mediation, all information disclosed during the family or divorce mediation is held strictly confidential. Neither the mediator nor the parties, their lawyers or anyone else present can discuss with others what went on at mediation. This includes stating in court what offers were made, what the demands were, or anything else that was said or considered. It also includes the restriction that the mediator cannot mention to the other party, without your express permission, any confidential thing said or considered in your room.
Achieving Success in Mediation
A successful mediation is one in which all the parties’ issues are settled at mediation with the parties’ confidence that the mediated settlement is the result of a process that has treated them equitably. A mediation can also be considered successful if at least some of the issues are resolved. Many times, parties who have resolved some of the issues through mediation agree to use the mediator as an arbitrator to resolve the remaining issues. The advantage of using the mediator as an arbitrator rather than taking the unresolved issues to court is that the arbitrator has greater flexibility than the courts do in finding solutions. And, of course, the advantage of resolving issues by mediation or arbitration is the savings in the financial and emotional costs of continuing the litigation, as any issues that remain unresolved at the end of mediation that are not arbitrated go to the courts to make the final decisions.