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Mediation and Divorce
What is mediation?Mediation—also commonly called Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR—is a process in which a trained, professional mediator helps two opposing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator is neutral, with no bias toward one party or the other, and does not impose this agreement on the parties. Instead, the mediator merely facilitates negotiation until a solution is agreed upon by both sides. Unlike the formal procedures of court proceedings or arbitration, the mediation process is more informal, with procedures or rules agreed to beforehand by both parties.
Why should you choose mediation?First, there is the matter of cost: not only in a financial sense, but costs in time, and in the emotional and psychological well-being for all parties involved. In a litigated case, attorney fees, the costs of depositions, discovery of evidence, etc., can be enormous…and that’s before even walking into a courtroom. Mediation is far less expensive, and typically it’s a much quicker process. Second, a mediated settlement gives all parties more certainty as to the outcome. A court case results in winners and losers. Often in cases that go to court, the winning party requires additional litigation simply to obtain the relief ordered by the court. And the losing party may well appeal the court’s judgment. This can lengthen the process by weeks or months. Conversely, in a mediated settlement, there is a certainty and finality to the proceedings. Both parties can then move on with their lives, when a compromise is voluntarily agreed to by both sides. Third, the parties have much more control over the end results. In court proceedings or arbitration, a judge would impose the outcome; in mediation, a judge usually signs off on the outcome (and creates an enforceable order) as long as the parties are within reason and the law. There are many opportunities for creative problem solving, with a wider range of solutions on offer than a court setting allows. In some cases, a simple apology from one party can reduce punitive or financial measures taken by the other party. Creativity and outside-the-box thinking can occasionally streamline the process quite dramatically.
How does mediation relate to Family Law?Mediation, or ADR, is routinely sought in a wide variety of issues that fall under the umbrella term Family Law: divorce, child custody, child or spousal support, and matters relating to the division of property. When two parties are guided by an experienced mediator, and focused on compromise, the process is streamlined, and there is no clear winner or loser. Whereas in a litigated case, the court will examine evidence (including every awful thing either side has ever done). This is often a lengthy, stressful process. And it can leave one party, if not both, feeling more aggrieved once it is over. As Johnathan says, “No relationship is the same after trial.” But in mediation, the proceedings are typically entirely confidential, and known only to the disputing parties and their mediator. The goal is to get to a solution that is in the best interests of the children and of the parties.
Baldauf Masser: Boise Mediation and Divorce AttorneysWe here at Baldauf Masser are experienced in mediation, specifically as it pertains to Family Law. With our expertise, we hope to guide you through disputes that come with the dissolution of a marriage, the custody and support of your children, and other tough problems. These highly-charged and emotionally fraught events are challenging enough without the additional aggravation of a long and drawn-out court case. Our goal is to assist you in coming to a fair agreement as quickly and painlessly as possible, finalizing these disputes so that both parties can then move on with their lives.
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We are a small firm focused on guiding normal people through tough situations with a compassionate, thoughtful, and zealous approach. Our practice centers around criminal defense, family law, and small business/startup consulting.