The benefits of mediation by Sherie Grayman (attorney and mediator)

Mediation gives couples who are separating/divorcing the following advantages over litigating;
1. COST – The Mediation process generally takes much less time than moving a case through standard legal channels. Because both parties are working with the same base of information, it usually takes far less time to negotiate a resolution that makes sense to both parties. Therefore taking less time to reach resolutions means expending less money on hourly fees and costs.
2. WIN/WIN SITUATION – Keep in mind, litigated cases lead to more anger and frustration between the divorcing parties. Not many people walk away from a litigated divorce feeling peaceful. On the other-hand, couples who have gone through mediation felt satisfied with the agreements they had reached and both walk away feeling that they had gotten what they had wanted.
3. CONTROL – Mediation thus increases the control the parties have over their lives. In a court case, the parties obtain a resolution but control resides with a judge .Who would you rather have decide what happens with your children and assets after a divorce? Who knows more about you, attorneys, judges or you? With Mediation you are given the opportunity to remain in control.
4. FLEXIBILITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY- Mediation gives you and your partner a way to settle the conflict in a way that helps you work together as parents. This is extremely important if you have children and must interact with your ex-spouse after you are divorced .Mediation brings about communication between the couple, which can then be used when they must discuss issues pertaining to the children. Further it allows parents to explore flexible/creative solutions with regard to issues relating to the children within the realm of the law. The needs of the children remain paramount and it is always important to remember that parents divorce one another and NOT their children. Mediation provides a confidential forum so parties can feel safe to disclose information and put various options on the table in order to reach joint solutions. It is held in the mediator’s office which in itself is not a court room which is a public domain, where anyone can attend.
5. NEUTRALITY OF THE MEDIATOR-The Mediator works in a forum of absolute fairness, and looks towards assisting both parties in an unbiased and non judgemental manner. The Mediator does not act as judge or make decisions. The Mediator assists you to discuss relevant issues and to help you to negotiate choices in order to reach joint decisions.

Which Divorces are better left for litigation?
Family mediation works for many people but it isn’t right for everyone.
It may not work if for example (this list is by no means complete):
• Someone’s safety is at risk, for example where domestic violence or child abuse is involved. If you have evidence of the violence or abuse you can take your case straight to court.
• Your dispute is about financial issues and you or your partner is bankrupt.
• You don’t know where your ex is and cannot contact them.
• Your mediator thinks mediation will not be suitable for you.
Divorce Checklist
You will need to take the following documents to your first session of mediation
1. Anti -nuptial contract
2. Marriage certificate.
Further documents will be requested by the mediator as the mediation process continues. For example, once financial issues are tackled documents such as bank statements  ,payslips etc  will be requested.

Until next time
Sherie

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