Ten Reasons to Mediate Your Divorce and/or Family Disputes
Mediation is a confidential process for resolving conflict and reaching an agreement. A neutral mediator assists parties in arriving at a mutually acceptable agreement. In contrast to an adversarial proceeding, mediation emphasizes cooperative problem solving and addressing the needs of all parties involved. Mediation can be used for all types of conflict; however, it is particularly useful in the context of divorce. Divorce is never easy, but with the help of a qualified mediator, like John Edgar Sherrard of the Sherrard Law Group, there is a high likelihood that you will settle your divorce issues amicably. Let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons why you should mediate your divorce:
1) Mediation Lets You Control the Outcome.
Why let a Judge decide what’s best for you or your children? Litigation leaves you in a position where attorneys and judges make the important long-lasting decisions that affect you and your family. A mediator isn’t a judge, and they cannot force you to do anything. One of the key reasons for choosing mediation is that you will have better control over the result of the dispute. Both parties can customize the terms of the agreement according to their needs and the parties are enabled to maintain control of their future and their children’s futures. The power over your divorce issues is now in your hands. This means that you (and your spouse) decide what to discuss and how you ultimately plan to settle your divorce. Don’t surrender your power of choice and the control over your future. A professional mediator, like John Sherrard of the Sherrard Law Group can help you design your own arrangements for the future that make the most sense for your situation.
2) Mediation Saves Money.
Dragging a divorce through court can be very costly. Many families have ruined their finances due to the seemingly endless rounds of court hearings common in divorce proceedings. On the other hand, mediation is much more affordable. Research shows that it is typically 50% less expensive to use the mediation process alongside a legal advisor, than using a legal advisor alone. Mediation usually occurs early in the divorce process, and many mediations are completed in one meeting. Divorce is already expensive enough as it is. You can reduce that cost significantly by choosing divorce mediation, and you can choose to mediate before filing for divorce to avoid contested litigation.
3) Mediation Saves Time.
One major issue with taking your divorce to court is that it can lengthen the entire process unnecessarily. You may have to wait months as your respective lawyers coordinate their schedules with the presiding judge. Mediation significantly reduces that time. Often, all it takes is one productive session with a mediator to reach a resolution of the case. Not to mention, you can book your mediation appointment at a time and date that suits you.
4) Mediation is Fair and Impartial.
Mediators do not take sides. Mediators ensure that the session is fair and each party’s side is heard. Each party has an equal say in the Mediation process, and the parties, not the mediator, decide the terms of the settlement. There is no determination of winners or losers. There is simply an agreement that resolves all issues between the parties.
5) Mediation is Confidential.
A key issue with trying your divorce before a judge is the lack of confidentiality. When taking your case to trial before the Court, you will have to testify in front of judges, court employees, family members, witnesses, officers and observers. With mediation, everything said and done in the mediation session is completely confidential and without prejudice. All meetings are private, no matter where they are held, and they provide peace of mind for divorcing couples as they attempt to resolve their dispute. If all issues are resolved in mediation and litigation becomes necessary, the details of the mediation session cannot be presented in the courtroom. Litigation is public; mediation keeps your personal life private.
6) Mediation is Easier on Children.
Litigation is adversarial and creates “sides” to be taken, and divorce is rarely forgiving to the children caught between disputing spouses. Research indicates that prolonged parental conflict harms children. There is no need to place your family or children in a gladiator arena. Transition into a new phase of life should be as peacefully as possible by allowing a professional mediator to assist you in devising a long-term “parenting plan”, rather than having custody arrangements dictated by a court. You can demonstrate to your children that, even though Mom and Dad will be living separately, they will still be Mom and Dad who have resolved their differences amicably, and will both continue to take an active role in continuing to parent and protect them. You can shield your children from unnecessary trauma by choosing divorce mediation.
7) Mediation Improves Communication Between the Parties and Fosters Cooperation.
Mediation advocates better communication between parties by providing a neutral and confidential setting in which the parties can openly discuss their views on the underlying dispute. This is especially important in co-parenting situations where a couple must continue interacting with each other well after their divorce has been finalized. Mediating instead of litigating gives you the opportunity to build a positive future, instead of a negative one, as you move forward with your lives in different directions. By conserving financial resources, communicating and showing respect instead of fighting, taking control of your family’s future, making your own choices, and viewing your separation from the perspective of a team instead of as adversaries, parties can maintain their mental, emotional and physical health and move into the future in a positive way. Enhanced communication leads to mutually satisfactory resolutions.
8) Mediation is Voluntary.
Mediation is a voluntary process. You can choose to schedule a pre-suit mediation before any pleadings are filed. However, once the divorce case is filed, the court will require mediation. Nevertheless, whether court-ordered or scheduled on your own, mediation is voluntary. You are not required to reach an agreement and may terminate the mediation session at any time. If the session is terminated, you are not required to return to another mediation unless all parties agree.
9) Mediation Allows More Attention to be Focused on Your Needs and is Beneficial.
Many judges are understaffed and overworked and don’t have the time to sit down with a family to get to know them on a personal level. In most cases, judges communicate more so with lawyers than they do with the actual family. This isn’t their fault; it’s simply how the system works. Mediation, on the other hand, allows you to speak and be heard on a personal level. What you say can have a direct impact on how your divorce proceeds. All the while, your mediator will facilitate discussion and guide the process along. Mediation is always safe. You have nothing to lose by participating and everything to potentially gain. Mediation is a process and even if the mediation session does not result in a signed agreement, it have laid a foundation for settlement in the future and gives you a realistic picture of your case and your spouse’s case.
10) Mediation Works and Judges Appreciate It.
Mediation is a process for separated couples who need to work together to reach an agreement, but cannot do so without the assistance of a trained facilitator. Mediators are trained to facilitate communication and help clients focus on the issues they face. Mediators have resolved many seemingly “impossible” disputes. An independent survey showed about 80% of mediation cases settle and 96% of all respondents and 91% of all charging parties that were surveyed would use a mediator again. Furthermore, judges favor parties who attempt to mediate their claims before litigating them.
Whether you are the Respondent or the Charging Party, you should have a certified and skilled Mediator working with you throughout the mediation process. John Sherrard has been a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator for over thirteen years and has been Board Certified by Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education Family Law and Real Estate Law for more than 35 years. With his experience and knowledge, he is able to resolve most cases and draft an agreement that is signed by all mediating parties. That is why we invite you to contact the Sherrard Law Group today to speak to a member of our legal team and/or engage our services in setting a date for your mediation. We look forward to serving your needs in resolving your family law issues to your satisfaction.