Mediation is a client-centered voluntary alternative to the traditional adversarial or litigation method of resolving disputes. It can be used in all types of disputes including Matrimonial and Family Law disputes.
Mediation is defined as a process in which conflicted parties make decisions together based on their understanding of their own views, their partner’s views, and the various realities that they each face. Within the mediation model, the mediator, acting in a non-coercive manner and while maintaining neutrality (a lawyer mediator cannot represent one party), facilitates communication between the parties to explore their options in a non-adversarial manner. The mediator helps both parties identify issues, clarify each of their various perceptions and explore potential options toward resolving the conflict. Since neither party is focused solely on winning but rather finding reasonable solutions, both parties gain more than they thought. The process is meant to create a ‘win-win” situation.
Mediation does not preclude the use of lawyers. It is recommended that any mediated agreement should be reviewed by each individual’s lawyer. One’s lawyer will provide security that all issues have been addressed and that legal rights and obligations have been explained. Having a lawyer to consult can speed up the mediation process.
The mediation process is efficient. By working together, parties are less inclined to engage in disagreements over smaller issues. Financial transparency eliminates costly disputes over the sharing of information. The parties and mediator work together to create options with the goal of making the most of available resources. Working together reduces animosity and protects children from parental conflict.
The cost of mediation is determined by the complexity of issues and the willingness of the participants to work together. The number of issues, the contentiousness of the parties, and the willingness of the parties to work together in the mediation sessions and in between sessions all are factors which will impact the cost of the process.