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Try Mediation First

by John G. Millett, J.D.

I’m a divorce survivor.  I experienced first-hand the emotional and wasteful process of divorce  through traditional legal methods.  After three grueling years, and many, many thousands of dollars spent on legal fees, we hired a mediator who finalized our divorce – within hours.  After my own heart-wrenching divorce process, I realized I wanted to dedicate my professional life to providing mediation services to others.  Why? Because I believe it is an effective, efficient, and fair alternative to costly traditional legal channels.

What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative legal process used to resolve a conflict.  All the decisions that need to be made in order to resolve that conflict are made by the parties involved – not their lawyers, not the courts.  This process is facilitated – mediated – by a trained third party professional, a mediator.  Mediation is a great option for divorcing couples, as well as those who are looking to find a solution for business and other family-related disputes.

Remember: Attorneys, judges, courts – these are required when the parties can’t come to an agreement.  They’re the last option when all other avenues for resolution have been exhausted.

Is Mediation Recognized by the Courts?
Yes! Mediation agreements are legally binding when filed with the courts. Though it might be a bit counter-intuitive to the legal processes with which most of us are familiar, mediation agreements are created and then filed with the court, rather than the court determining the solution.

Note: In some situations, a mediator is used simply to facilitate a solution, and it is not necessary to file the resolution with the court.  

How is Mediation Better?
There are a variety of benefits to mediation in many situations.
Mediation:
– Provides relief from ongoing stress of lengthy traditional divorce or other dispute resolution processes.
– Is more cost-effective.
– May result in an agreement over a few sessions (several hours).
– Gives the power to design the best solution to the parties involved.
– Is better for the children (in a divorce situation), as they no longer have to witness the divisiveness of the traditional adversarial legal process.

Try Mediation First
If you’re considering divorce or separation, or you’re looking to resolve a conflict within your business or family, try mediation before contacting opposing attorneys.  Consult with a mediator to learn the advantages of the process, and to determine if it’s the right option for you.