If you are going through any kind of legal dispute with your ex-partner over child custody, property settlement or another issue then family law mediation is highly recommended as a way to resolve the matter. Let’s take a look at what family law mediation is and why it is superior as a dispute resolution process.
What is family law mediation?
Family law mediation is when a qualified 3rd party mediator helps both parties disputing issues related to divorce reach a mutually agreeable arrangement. This includes parenting arrangements and the division of marital assets.
Unlike in a courtroom battle, there is no clear ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ in this negotiation process as it seeks to ensure that an equitable arrangement is reached between the disputing parties. In general, agreements reached via this process are longer lasting and more respected by both sides since they feel more in control of it, whereas a judge-mandated decision can leave one side as the clear loser, causing resentment.
Why is it superior to court litigation?
The point of family law mediation is ultimately to remove disputing ex-lovers from an adversarial environment and get them to act rationally rather than spitefully. Often times the well-being of children is a common-ground issue that can be focused on in order to build trust in the negotiation.
This process is much faster than a court battle which can take years to even be heard by a judge due to the long waiting list of others who want to fight in court. It is because of the backlog of cases that the system is overburdened and encourages anyone who can negotiate to pursue it as far as possible.
This process can be over much quicker than a court battle and will involve far less yelling and crying. Being set against your former partner in a battle for the custody of children or your future financial security is obviously a huge source of stress that you can’t imagine until you experience it – so its good to avoid it any way you can.
The negotiation environment
One of the best benefits of family law mediation is the fact that it takes place in an environment that is specifically designed to help both parties relax and work together to come to a settlement they can both agree with. This means soft chairs, relaxing colours, and all the stationary you will need (including whiteboards) that are necessary to hammer out the agreement you are seeking.
While you and your ex can have your lawyers present if you want, they aren’t totally necessary if you have a good family law mediation expert leading the negotiation. If call need to be made to clarify certain things with a lawyer, that’s perfectly fine.
Tips for first timers
The most important piece of advice for anyone about to enter family law mediation is to go in with an open mind and a willingness to help your ex find a solution that works for them. If you go in only thinking about what you want, the process is going to take much longer than it would if you thought about what your ex might want to walk away from the relationship with.
Also, trust your family law mediation expert that you hired and don’t accuse them of bias when there clearly isn’t any. Their job is to help you both walk away satisfied.