Peaceful solutions to complex legal disputes
Given the enormous costs of litigation and the delays in the court system, it is worthwhile for parties to consider mediation. Mediation may not be appropriate for all cases, but it should be considered if you are concerned about preserving amicable relationships with your spouse and children.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which both spouses work with a neutral mediator to work out agreements on parenting issues, asset division, and financial support. The attorney-mediator provides information and education to both spouses so they can make informed decisions; the attorney-mediator does not give individual legal advice. Each party participates voluntarily in the process. Mediators are specially trained in negotiation and working with couples in conflict. Meetings are generally held in two-hour segments, and many couples can reach resolution in 7 to 10 meetings.
It’s your agreement.
The attorney-mediator is a guide and facilitator. The parties develop agreements together. If the spouses work out their differences and arrive at an agreement through mediation, they are more likely to be successful working with each other in the future. The attorney-mediator assists the parties with information, required court documents, including drafting parenting plans, separation agreements, child support guidelines, financial affidavits, and pleadings. Each spouse is encouraged to have an attorney of his or her choosing to give advice during the process and to review agreements.
- The spouses retain control over the outcome.
- It’s confidential.
- It’s less contentious, and most spouses learn they can work out their differences together.
- The spouses set the pace, not the court.
- It’s usually much less expensive than litigation.
Carolyn Swiggart is a trained mediator-attorney, and believes that mediation is an excellent way for spouses to dissolve their marriages and construct good parenting plans. She is available for complete case mediations as well as for specific issues by referral, such as parenting plans. Attorney Swiggart also serves as review counsel for parties in mediation.