Very few people want to put the outcome of their divorce in the hands of a trial judge. Parties who end up before the judge cannot control their own outcome, and end up in costly legal battles. Elise Buie Family Law Group encourages clients to resolve their disputes in a more amicable proceeding outside of court. The most common form of alternative dispute resolution is mediation.
Couples voluntarily participate in mediation to resolve their dispute by agreement. The mediator guides the parties through the process and assists them throughout. The mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates a settlement between the two spouses. The mediator helps both parties communicate what they want and why. An attorney can be hired to represent them at any stage during the mediation process.
The selection of a mediator is an important component because he or she controls the process. Some mediators conduct mediation with both parties in the same room. Others utilize the shuttle system, whereby the parties are in separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between the rooms. Each mediator has a different style. Some are strictly facilitative and only help the parties come to an agreement from their respective positions. Others incorporate an evaluative method and offer an opinion regarding how a particular position would be perceived in court and offer alternatives in an effort to settle the matter.
Generally, mediation is used when the parties desire an amicable divorce and truly feel they can work together to come up with positive result for all. In most cases, mediation proves successful and allows everyone to avoid the costs of trial. Mediation typically avoids the emotional rollercoaster of going to court. This sets a good impression if there are children involved and can allow for the parents to remain cordial. Another positive aspect of mediation is that decisions are made by the families involved, not an unknown judicial officer. You have control of the outcome and are not subject to the judge's ruling at trial. Mediation can occur quickly and allow everyone to get on with their lives much faster than proceeding to trial.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Other benefits of divorce mediation include:
- Mediation costs are usually shared equally by the parties.
- Mediation is generally significantly less expensive than going to trial. On average, $5000-$15,000 v. $50,000-$100,000
- Mediation lets you keep control over the outcome of your divorce. You owe yourself the right to "self-determine" your future instead of turning these decisions over to some stranger in a black robe.
- Mediation happens at your pace rather than the court's case schedule. This is generally at least a year, often longer.
- If you have children, you know the importance of modeling behavior for them. As the people who love them the most, show your kids the importance of working together to solve problems. Put your children first by providing the best parenting schedule and securing the finances needed to care for the family. Model what you want your kids to become.
- Mediation encourages you to "think outside the box" and "draw outside the lines." Your solutions are inhibited only by your imagination.
- If both parties own the mediation process, the agreement will last longer and be more durable. Ideally, you will never go back to court or fight again. Once you have successfully mediated the most important thing, your future, you will be able to handle other disputes without the help of that stranger in a black robe.
In Washington State, parties are required to make a good faith effort to resolve their disputes before going to trial. Elise Buie is trained as a mediator and will truly listen to both parties' concerns. She can introduce unique solutions to marital disputes and help prioritize goals. Elise Buie Family Law Group can represent you at any stage of the mediation process. We can be your coach while you mediate directly with your spouse and another mediator, or we can fully represent you at a mediation.
We assist with the preparation of mediation materials and help you put your best case forward. While you work directly with a mediator and your soon-to-be ex, we will coach you independently so that you can maintain your fortitude and effectively articulate your position and goals throughout the process. We will meet with you before your first session and educate you about the law and your risks. We problem-solve with you so that you can make the most out of your time with the mediator and bring a win-win attitude to the table.
Once you have a settlement worked out, we will review the language in your settlement agreement before final orders are entered. If you are unable to reach an agreement without an attorney, we can accompany you to mediation and provide the on-site advocacy and strength needed to "close the deal."
Your Family's Future is our First Priority