More than any other type of case, mediation can be an amazing tool to disputes involving issues of divorce or child custody and support. In my experience, most family law cases can be resolved through mediation and the parties are both much happier with the outcomes received when cases are litigated. Resolving family law cases through the court system is expensive, time consuming, and unpredictable. Most importantly, the process is emotionally painful and usually results in damage to the parties’ relationships with each other and their children. For many people, mediation is an alternative that saves time and money and helps to preserve the family dynamic for years to come.
Many people choose to utilize the mediation process prior to filing a lawsuit or even prior to consulting with a divorce attorney. Some choose to consult with an attorney prior to mediation or hire an attorney to attend the mediation with them. Others will experience mediation as a part of the litigation process either because the parties and/or their attorneys jointly decide to utilize mediation or because a judge has directed them to do so. Regardless of which path parties take to mediation, most find the process to be a….
Generally speaking, family law mediations follow the same guidelines and processes as other types of mediations. However, the complex and emotional nature of these types of cases results in some key characteristics that I often see in family law mediations. First, many family law cases are conducted entirely or mostly in “caucus.” In mediation lingo, “caucus” means that the parties (and their attorneys, if applicable) are in separate rooms and the mediator moves back and forth between them. Sometimes, one or both parties are simply more comfortable remaining in separate rooms for the entire mediation. If that is the case for you, simply let your mediator know prior to the mediation and we can ensure that everybody has a separate space from the outset.
Family law mediations also tend to be longer than other types of mediations because they often involve a large number of complex and emotional issues. As a result, we usually schedule family law mediations to start in the morning and plan for them to take all day to ensure that we have enough time to work through all the issues. In cases that involve particularly complex financial or custody issues, it may be helpful to schedule a second day of mediation. Every case is different and we strive to stay flexible to ensure that the mediation process suits each one.