Traditionally, if you wanted to resolve a divorce or other family law dispute, you had to hire a lawyer and go to court. Because of the adversarial nature of the American legal system, minor disagreements among family members often turned into bitter, costly, prolonged legal battles. Children and families were torn apart. Sometimes the only winners were the lawyers.
Unlike the traditional legal system, which tends to promote conflict, mediation, along with other forms of what is generally called alternative dispute resolution (ADR), encourages collaboration among the parties and offers a more compassionate, holistic approach to resolving legal disputes. Mediation is a kinder, gentler way to resolve conflicts, outside a courtroom, without the need of a judge. It is a way to return the focus to the people involved and give them back some measure of respect, dignity, and control over important issues in their lives.
To help ensure that the mediation process goes smoothly and results in the best possible outcome for both parties, be sure to involve an experienced Chandler mediation attorney.
How does mediation work?
Simply put, mediation focuses on practical solutions rather than winners and losers. Also, because the participants are intimately involved in the process, they tend to come away feeling that they had a say in the outcome. For this reason, the results tend to be longer lasting.
Mediation can be court-sponsored or private. Either way, it involves getting the opposing parties together in a room with a neutral third-party mediator. With private mediation, usually no lawyers are present. However, if a court case is pending and one or both of the parties is represented by an attorney, lawyers will most likely be involved in the process.
Regardless, it is the mediator’s job to moderate the discussion and try to help the parties reach mutually beneficial outcomes. The mediator does not force anyone to take a position with which he or she feels uncomfortable.
Sometimes mediation includes breakout sessions in which each party confers privately with the mediator and/or his or her counsel, if present. The party may also confer with any close family members or friends or professionals such as mental health providers, child-development specialists, financial experts, and any others the parties agree may be beneficial.
Throughout the mediation process, the emphasis is on facilitating respectful, positive communication that helps the parties reach a whole, or at least partial, resolution to their legal issue or issues.