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Mediation: A Positive Alternative to Litigation



Family conflict hurts children.  When divorce becomes an adversarial  war, children become the innocent victims.  Attorneys and court proceedings can be important in addressing post-marital issues, but there is a significant financial and emotional cost to an adversarial approach.  Clients can get caught up in a desire to have their lawyer punish an ex-spouse and to make them �pay for what they have done�.  When that becomes the objective, the price that you pay goes beyond dollars.  It results in a loss of dignity and self-respect, and impairs your ability to enter future relationships. 

Most importantly, your children are watching and wondering:

        Mom, why are you so angry at dad?

             Don�t you know that I love him?

        Dad, why are you so angry at mom?

                                         Don�t you know that I love her?"   

Mediation is an option that provides a non-adversarial process in which you, with the assistance of a professional impartial mediator, make decisions that affect your life.

The mediator is a neutral third party who cannot order you to do anything.  He or she will help defuse negative emotions, and help both of you address important issues.  Based on their training and experience, mediators can suggest creative solutions to problems both parties considered insolvable.  Instead of airing personal and painful subjects in a public courtroom, they are dealt with privately in the mediator�s office.    The costs are significantly less than court litigation.  It also helps both parties avoid destructive battles that impact their children, and lets them move on with their lives.  

In a typical mediation session, a mediator will:

  • Set out the ground rules for communication and negotiation
  • Identify the issues to be settled and promote exchange of information
  • Identify common ground and shared interests between the parties
  • Explore and promote discussion of possible options and solutions
  • Record in writing the mutual agreements reached by the parties

The agreement that you arrive at must be acceptable to both parties.  Each party reviews the mediated agreement with their legal counsel to ensure all concerns are adequately addressed, and then the agreement can be filed as a formal court order.

Psychologists who are trained mediators can also provide an understanding of the developmental needs of children and the psychological implications of a decision as the parties work together to develop a positive child-focused parenting arrangement.           

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