The Three Cs Of Mediation
Prior to family law mediation, about 95 percent of the parties believe that the process will be utterly fruitless. Most people reason that if they could have “talked out” their problems, the court case would have been unnecessary. Yet well over 70 percent of these same people resolve some or all of their differences during mediation.
Most people want to resolve their own disputes on their own terms, which is why family law mediation is so successful.
Benefits of Mediation
Almost all divorce clients want to know how much the procedure will cost. It is impossible to affix a price tag to a marriage dissolution action, because some cases are resolved in only a few weeks while others extend for months or even years. So, the sooner the case is resolved, the lower the legal fees, at least in many cases. Mediation can be a significant time saver, because it reduces preparation time. In fact, the Department of Justice estimates that, in 2015, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution eliminated over 20,000 days of attorney and staff time, resulting in a savings of over $14 million. Most all divorces have an emotional cost in addition to a financial one, and in many cases, the emotional cost well outweighs the financial one. Mediation reduces this emotional cost as well, as is examined below.
Many movies and TV shows include dramatic courtroom showdowns, because of the strong emotional component that these things have. Unfortunately, what is good for viewing audiences is often bad for families. Viewers turn off their sets and go about their business, but families with children must continue to work together, usually for many years.
So, it is important to maintain as much civility as possible, and mediation’s structure is made to avoid emotional confrontations. After each attorney gives a brief opening statement in a joint session, the parties retire to separate rooms as the mediator delivers settlement offers and counteroffers back and forth between the two sides.
Because the parties are more civil, they are more able to calmly and effectively work through their issues. So, they have more control over the outcome. Instead of handing their problems off to a judge or jury to resolve in a way that they may not fully understand, the parties resolve child custody, property division, and other potentially divisive issues on their own with only a nudge (or in some cases, a shove) from the mediator. That control manifests itself in at least two ways. First, the parties are empowered to work out future disputes between themselves, reasoning that if they talked things out one time, they can talk things out again. Second, there is evidence that mediated settlements increase voluntary compliance, which means fewer issues at pickups and dropoffs and fewer motions to enforce in court.
Most family law judges in Florida order mediation in contested cases, because it is an effective way for parties to find lasting solutions to their family law problems.
Rely on Experienced Attorneys
For prompt assistance with a family law matter, contact an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie from Eighmie Law Firm, PA. Our firm has a small-town feel and access to nationwide resources.