Mediation and Limited Scope Representation Solutions in Family Law
What Is Mediation? Why Choose It?
Mediation is a voluntary and effective means of resolving disputes wherein the parties themselves choose the outcome in a cooperative, non-adversarial way. It takes the case out of litigation. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator to the decision-making process; she is there to help the parties identify the issues in their case, determine and gather needed information, inform the parties of applicable law, and their rights and responsibilities. She may also offer approaches or considerations, but does not impose a decision on the parties. The parties are free to have outside consulting attorneys, but many choose not to.
Mediation is typically radically less expensive than litigation. It usually enables the parties to much more rapidly conclude their case, and in a way they choose to, bringing to their result matters which might not have been important to, or even considered by a Judge or litigation counsel. In this way, mediation can be a creative and empowering experience, which the parties can draw on in the future if the need for modification arises (typically in the contexts of the parenting plan and support). There is no Court timetable, and no unnecessary waiting. Most uncertainty is removed from the decision-making process, as the parties, not a third person, are in control of the outcome. All of these things tend to reduce the stress associated with divorce, for the parties and their families.
Are We Good Candidates For Mediation?
If, despite the difficult circumstances and decisions you face, you nonetheless enjoy a good level of trust, there is mutual respect, and both of you have reasonable communication skills, you will probably do well in mediation. Sometimes one party is more forceful than another; in this case, one of the mediator’s roles is to address this imbalance, and make sure that the other party’s needs and concerns are heard.
Who Does The Paperwork?
Typically, Ms. Harrington prepares all the paperwork, from filing the case through Judgment.
Will We Need To Go To Court At All?
No. When a Marital Settlement Agreement addressing all the issues in your case has been finalized, it can be incorporated into a Judgment of Dissolution, and approved by the Court all on the paperwork. Neither the parties, nor the mediator, need to appear in Court.
What Is The First Step?
Ms. Harrington invites each party individually to have a brief telephone conversation with her to discuss mediation generally, without getting into the substantive issues in their case, and so they can get a sense of her. If the parties then wish to set an initial meeting, they should identify a few mutually available times, and contact Ms. Harrington.