By Michelle L. Searcy
Whether you are involved in a divorce (dissolution of marriage), child custody (allocation of parental rights), or modification family law case, you will be encouraged, if not ordered to participate in mediation. In mediation, the mediator will work with you to try to resolve issues through agreement. This confidential process gives you and the other party an opportunity to control the outcome of the case by reaching an agreement instead of having a stranger decide for you. You may not resolve all of the issues. Even if you are only able to reach agreements on some issues, it will help you pare down your court hearing time to focus on the issues that truly cannot be settled.
As a family law attorney, I have represented many clients through the mediation process. Mediation does not always result in a successful outcome. Often, I have heard clients express the opinion that mediation wasted time and money. This article will help you avoid that feeling by focusing on ways to get the maximum benefit from mediation. That said, mediation can frustrate the parties because the mediator lacks the authority to make either party agree to anything, or make decisions. Some mediators apply pressure to the parties with the hopes of encouraging compromise. It helps to keep in mind that the mediator’s judgment does not necessarily reflect the analysis the court may make when assessing a case. Continue reading