I recently read a great article that discussed why mediation in divorce is so important these days. It got me to thinking how often I have to counsel clients on the necessity (in some courts it’s court ordered and mandatory) and benefits of mediation.
So what is it? Generally in the divorce context mediation is a process where the clients and their lawyers meet with another lawyer appointed as mediator in a non formal setting, generally the mediator’s office to try to settle the case. It allows the lawyers to openly discuss their case, it’s issues and their positions with an impartial person. Mediators differ in their methods but most talk to the lawyers then the client and their lawyers and generally go back and forth between the sides trying to find common ground. The sides are usually physically separated within the mediator’s office.
I like mediation. While it is not cheap it saves time and money. I know many good ones and I try to use those whom I am familiar with. Sometimes it’s good for me to hear another side to an issue I feel strongly about. Many times it’s good for my client to hear a third party’s view of the case.
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution which is becoming more popular In many fields. I will be discussing other types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques used in family law in future newsletters.