What is mediation?
Mediation is a non-adversarial method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third party helps resolve a dispute. The mediator does not have the power to render a decision on the matter or order an outcome. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the parties can pursue a lawsuit.
Who decides a case in mediation?
The mediator helps each person evaluate their needs and goals for reaching a solution. All decisions are made by the parties, not the mediator. A mediator may be selected by the parties based upon a recommendation by a friend, attorney, therapist, or another professional. Mediators are also listed in the yellow pages. Courts will often provide a list of mediators. In some situations, a list of approved mediators is provided to select from.
Most mediators receive formal classroom-style training. Some participate in apprenticeships or in mentoring programs. While training alone does not guarantee a competent mediator, most professional mediators have had some type of formal training. Important considerations in selecting a mediator include, among others, fee structure, his or her number of years of mediation, the number of mediations conducted, and types of mediations conducted.
When is mediation used?
Mediation is often used to help a divorcing or divorced couple work out their differences concerning alimony, child support, custody, visitation and division of property. Some lawyers and mental health professionals employ mediation as part of their practice. Some states require mediation in custody and visitation disputes. Other states allow courts to order mediation and a few states have started using mediation to resolve financial issues as well.
The Benefits of Mediation
The biggest benefit to mediation may be that the process allows you to be more creative in reaching an agreement. In court, a judge bases his or her decisions upon standards that have been set out under the law. Outside of court, your mediator can help you find ways to personally tailor resolutions to best fit your situation.
There are numerous other benefits to the mediation process, including:
The mediation process is less time-consuming than traditional litigation.
The process is generally less expensive.
The parties are more in control of the issues addressed and final agreed-upon solutions.
Contact Our Office for More Information
Do not leave the future of your family up to the decision of a judge that does not truly know the complexities of your individual situation. Instead, call 512-497-5589 to discuss whether mediation is right for you in your initial appointment. We are available between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Fridays.