Mediation is an important tool used in a growing number of legal cases, for all types of litigation. Mediation reduces stress on the court system and on the parties, and allows parties to settle differences in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Mediation is an effective – and often, less stressful – dispute resolution option for divorce and family-related issues. The family mediation process allows you to craft a settlement framework personalized to your unique needs. Mediation participants achieve mutual objectives by working with expert, neutral, third-party facilitators — or mediators — in a non-adversarial environment.
THE PRACTICALITY OF MEDIATION
Litigation can be a lengthy and costly process. Both emotionally and financially, court proceedings take their toll on families. Divorce cases can linger for 12 to 24 months before reaching the court for a decision, costing more than $50,000 in legal fees. Many cases return to court after the parties find the ruling unsatisfactory.
Mediation presents a much different and more positive scenario.
Generally, mediation results in a resolution in an average of just three to four months.
Industry research indicates couples who have used mediation are more likely to:
- Reach voluntary agreements
- Generate comprehensive agreements more personalized to their objectives
- Find the process more fair and more sensitive to their needs
- Abide by the agreements they have reached
- Return to court less often
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is mediation?
A system in which a neutral third party (mediator) facilitates a voluntary negotiation process between the parties or litigants. The mediator assists the parties in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement, but does not make any decisions regarding the settlement. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator has no authority to render a decision or force either party to accept a settlement. Yet, the training and ability of a professional mediator can help achieve a final settlement which would not otherwise be possible.
What is the mediator’s role?
Accomplished mediators are able to focus on the real concerns of the parties and not merely one person’s view or position.
The role of the mediator is to help the parties:
- Determine whether mediation is appropriate
- Assess the capacity of the parties to negotiate their interests effectively
- Design the mediation process
- Guide the setting of agreed-upon ground rules
- Conduct the mediation process impartially
During mediation, parties are encouraged to discuss their concerns, interests, issues and options in order to contribute to elements of settlement and settlement implementation. A good mediator helps the parties manage their emotions and maintain dignity throughout the entire process.
It is not the role of the mediator to serve as an expert on the specific matters in dispute or to propose a settlement. However, a mediator can prove useful to the parties in identifying areas they may wish to explore in crafting settlement options. The parties retain ownership and control of their issues and of the responsibility for resolving them.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- Settlement of disputes in a timely manner. You are in control of how long the process takes. Almost every case will settle prior to trial. Therefore, the real issue is not if a case will settle, but when. Mediation can focus settlement negotiations, simplify correspondence and the exchange of documents and allow agreements to be reached more quickly.
- Cost. An early settlement saves litigation expenses and other costs related to managing the dispute. Arizona Mediation Institute bills at an hourly rate and does not require a retainer.
- Maintain Control. Mediation differs from arbitration or trial because the mediator does not make a decision or force any party to accept a settlement. When you agree to mediate a dispute, you are agreeing to attend the mediation session and participate in a good faith effort to settle the matter. Consequently, you are always in full control of the outcome.
- Mediation Is Confidential. Unlike court proceedings, all mediation sessions are confidential. Therefore, any negotiations during the mediation sessions do not become part of the public record.
- Preserve continuing relationships. Mediation is particularly useful in situations where the parties will be working together after the dispute is resolved, as is true of parents or business partners.
- Preparation of legal documentation. Arizona Mediation Institute will prepare your documents to begin and finalize your divorce, or amend your finalized divorce. Arizona Mediation Institute will also memorialize your ongoing negotiations with a binding agreement.
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