As it pertains to the law, mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), in which a neutral third party assists two or more parties in amicably negotiating a settlement. In recent time, more and more couples going through divorce have opted for the mediation route as opposed to the more traditional court setting.
Divorce mediation is a voluntary process meaning that both parties must agree in order for it to occur. Unlike an arbitrator, the mediator involved in the process does not have the power to make any final, legally binding decision. Instead, the mediators only role is act as a neutral third party in guiding the parties through the settlement negotiation process. The mediator has no special duty to either party involved in the dispute and is not made available to give legal advice. In the event a settlement cannot be successfully negotiated by the end of the mediation session, the parties can then choose to litigate their issues within the courts, leaving the decision of a final outcome to a judge.
There are sever potential benefits and advantages for divorce couples who choose to participate in the process of divorce mediation. One strong advantage to mediation is that the process of addressing and resolving the issues in a divorce can move far more quickly that it would in the courts. By way of example, depending on its complexity, a typical divorce in Maricopa County can take eight to twelve month to resolve. Conversely, depending on its complexity, the same divorce could be resolved through mediation in as few as ninety days.
In addition to saving time, the process of mediation can also save divorcing couples a great deal of money. This is so because attorneys fees are typically less in mediation due to the lesser amount of time an attorney will spend in the mediation process as opposed to the trial and litigation process.
Perhaps one of the strongest advantages to mediation is the parties involved have the option to settle the dispute on their own terms. At times, the process of litigation is unpredictable. The decision rests entirely in the hand of a judge and whatever decision is made will be binding regardless of how you may feel about it. This level of uncertainty is eliminated through mediation. In mediation, there are no real “winners” or “looser” Although the decisions are not always easy to reach, the end result is still a product of mutual agreement between all parties involved.
If your think mediation is a good fit for you, then you are strongly encouraged to reach out to a experience family law attorney. With over 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson can help guide you through your mediation divorce process. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.