What Is Mediation?
Mediation is where two people come together in an attempt to resolve their problems. The role of the mediator is just a facilitator of discussion between the parties to help them come to a decision they’re happy with. The good part about mediation is that the mediator takes no sides. When you go to court, on the other hand, people tend to dig their heels in and not to want to compromise. Attorneys want to cover all their bases, so they don’t end up with a malpractice suit, whether or not it’s important to the client. Mediation is particularly useful for a spouse who has been the one with less say in the marriage. In mediation, they get equal say and they get to be heard.
In my office, I wanted to make mediation particularly different from litigation. One of the problems with litigation is I bill at a certain rate per hour and every time I pick up my phone or write an email, I bill. I do mediation, however, for a flat fee. People know coming in exactly what their costs will be. When you litigate, you may pay a $10,000 retainer and in two or three months, you have to come up with more money. Litigation can take years. I’ve never had a mediation case that took more than 10 weeks.
The other thing about mediation in my office is that I work with various professionals, who can help people overcome, for example, issues with parenting. A parent coordinator can work with people to help them compromise on those issues. A tax advisor can help you maximize the money you have with the tax code.
Statistics show that people who mediate don’t go back to court as often. At the end of mediation, anyone is able to take the memorandum of understanding to an attorney and if they don’t like the language or they don’t understand something, they can adjust it. Normally, when the parties finish mediation with me, I prepare all the documents and all they have to do is walk down to the courthouse with $300 and get divorced.
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