Mediation is continuing to grow as an alternative to adversarial litigation in civil disputes, including divorces. Parties wary of expensive and time-consuming litigation can opt instead to undergo mediation with a qualified mediator to help them reach resolution of their dispute outside of court. Besides lower costs, another main benefit of mediation is that it is the parties themselves—and not the courts—who set the terms of the agreement.
Mediators are not required to be a lawyers. However, having a mediator with litigation experience helps. Mediators are required to inquire whether particular terms of a possible agreement are “fair, just and equitable,” and the very concepts that courts use when deciding to approve the mediation agreement. That is to say, any written agreement reached by the parties in mediation must be approved—at least in family law cases—by the judge presiding over the case. In doing so, the judge by law must review the agreement and find that it is “fair, just and equitable” before approving it and making it a court order. Furthermore, if there are children involved, the court must find that the agreement of the parties reached in mediation (as it pertains to children) is in the best interests of the children. Again, a mediator who has litigation experience in that field will be in a better position to determine whether a mediated agreement (“parenting plan”) will be approved by the court.
If you are considering mediation as an alternative to traditional adversarial litigation, contact a mediator at the law firm of Martin & Wallentine to assess whether mediation is right for you. Our experienced divorce, custody, and family law attorney can help you attempt to resolve your situation, while minimizing the arguments and volatile litigation.
We can help mediate disputes of numerous kinds, including business disputes, neighbor complications, divorces or otherwise.
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