“You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me!” Is this Mediation?
Well, actually….yes. Mediation is an alternative to litigation. It’s a place where the parties sit face to face with one another and try to resolve their case without using judges, the courtroom, trials, and even the law, but that is not to say that it doesn’t get confrontational or emotional. However, despite the above, there are many advantages to mediation….and we saw the advantages played out in Wedding Crashers, where they ultimately came to an amicable agreement.
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Below is an outline of the pros and cons of participating in mediation:
ProsLess expensiveLitigating a case is extremely expensive. Generally, family law lawyers charge anywhere from $200-$800 dollars per hour. If you have a trial to resolve your divorce with a lawyer that charges $500/hour that lasts just two days, each party will spend EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS for those two days in court. That is not including any trial prep, paperwork, conversations or correspondence with the client or other attorneys, which could easily be an additional $10,000. So each party will have spent roughly $20,000, for a combined $40,000, which they could have put their kid through college with. With mediation you may be able to resolve your entire case in one day and $1,000.00.QuickerFrom the time you file the first paper in a divorce, if you were working towards a trial date from the very beginning it would be about 6 months before your case would go to trial (and most cases do not know they are going to trial until at least 6 months into it). With mediation, before you ever even file the first paper, you could resolve the case, and it may take just one day.Greater satisfaction with the outcomeStudies have shown that when people have had a hand in the final result, they are more satisfied. If you go to court and put the decision entirely into the judge’s hand, you may end up feeling like you had no say in where your children would primarily live, etc. However, if you fashioned a resolution in mediation, even if it wasn’t your first choice, you’re likely to be more satisfied because of your involvement and power to agree or not to agree.You can resolve issues in ways that courts do not allowFor instance, the law requires that retirement accounts are split equally. In mediation, you don’t have to do that. Maybe in exchange for one party getting to stay in the home, the other gets their retirement without splitting it. You can fashion a resolution that works for the two of you and not be bound to what our legislature has required.
ConsYou do have to face your ex-spouseIf you litigate a case, most likely most of the communication can be done between the parties’ attorneys. When you stand in court, you never have to face your spouse. You always face the Judge straight ahead. In mediation, you will be talking directly to your spouse, looking at your spouse, and engaging with your spouse. To some, this is a huge con to mediation as they simply cannot bear being in the same space with the other person.It may bring emotions to the surfaceYou may think you have “moved on” or gotten over the hurt that other may have caused you, but seeing them again brings it back to the surface, or angers you.If unsuccessful, it may be an added costIf you try mediation and it is not successful and THEN have to litigate, the mediation will have been an added cost.Both parties must be willing to resolve the caseMediation only works if both parties are truly ready and willing to resolve the case. Believe it or not, there are parties who simply like to keep the conflict going and, therefore, do NOT want to resolve the case. Mediation will not be successful unless both parties genuinely want resolution.
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I am certified and trained mediator. I guarantee I will not be as funny (or as vulgar) as Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers, however it’s highly likely I will settle your case. I have been appointed on Riverside County’s panel of court mediators and do private mediation as well. For more information on mediation call (951) 463-5594.