What is Mediation?
Mediation is a type of Alternate Dispute Resolution in which disputing parties work collectively with the aid of an impartial, third-party to resolve a dispute. The mediator assists the parties in reaching a consensus by facilitating their communication, but it is the parties themselves who shape their agreement.
Is Mediation Required?
Your divorce decree or paternity judgment may require you to participate in Mediation before you can ask for a modification of Legal Decision Making (custody) or Parenting Time. The Court may direct the parties in any action to submit their dispute to the Conciliation Services Mediation program offered through the court. However, private Mediation is available as well to help couples settle any and all family law matters.
Benefits to Mediation
There are many benefits to using Mediation as an alternative to litigation.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- It can save participants time and money;
- It avoids the stress, expense and unpredictable nature of a trial and allows the courts to wisely conserve trial resources for those cases where there is truly a need for litigation;
- Using Mediation instead of litigation often results in greater participant satisfaction. Often, parties are able to preserve their relationships after Mediation; in a trial there is a winner and a loser; and
- Mediation provides more open, flexible, and responsive processes that are tailored to the unique needs of the parties. The parties can work with the Mediator toward a customized solution, rather than having the court dictate the terms.