Whether you are facing a divorce, child custody matter, child support dispute, or other family law issue, you may have heard of the mediation process. This legal tool can be helpful in many cases to resolve complex issues without a trial. There are many benefits to mediation, as well as some unexpected impacts. Before moving forward with this process, there are several considerations to undertake. Read the below information about mediation, and discuss your specific questions and concerns with an experienced family lawyer today.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is one type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Specifically, mediation involves both parties to a case and a neutral third party facilitator, known as the mediator. A mediator may be another lawyer who is not involved in the case, a retired judge, or another legal professional familiar with family law. During mediation, which your lawyer can attend, the mediator will guide both you and the other party through specific issues. In some cases, the parties may only want to mediate one particular issue, such as spousal support. Other times, the parties are trying to resolve many issues they could not settle on beforehand. Settling issues out of court can save parties both time and money, leading to a smoother case resolution.
How Will Mediation Affect My Case?
Mediation is a common occurrence in many family law cases; however, mediation is not the same as going to court. Often, family law judges will recommend or even require that parties attempt mediation. This is especially common in child custody matters. The impact of mediation varies case by case. Your mediator may make certain recommendations, such as a parenting plan, or may merely facilitate negotiations. If an issue is resolved, the parties will move forward with finalizing an agreement. That agreement would then be submitted to the court, and the related issue would be resolved.
When Is Mediation Appropriate?
It is important to note that choosing mediation is usually left entirely to the parties. So, you and your lawyer will need to decide whether this process would benefit you. For mediation to be successful, both parties need to commit to cooperation. Obviously, there will likely be tension between parties to a family law case. However, with mutual goals like settling an issue without additional litigation, both parties can equally benefit from mediation.
Mediation may not be appropriate or helpful in cases involving domestic violence. In such cases, the abusive party may still to use force or intimidation during negotiations. You should inform your lawyer immediately about any instances of violence in your case. He or she can help you decide whether mediation would be a safe step to take in the case. If a judge requires you to attend mediation, your lawyer may be able to argue that mediation is not appropriate due to past domestic violence.
Contact Ventura Family Lawyers
At Negley Law, APC, our lawyers have over 15 years of legal experience. In that time, our attorneys have handled a multitude of complex family law cases, including cases involving mediation. We can help you determine whether mediation would benefit you. Our entire legal team is dedicated to meeting your legal needs and goals. If you are facing a family law dispute, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.