Mediation is often a much cheaper alternative than traditional litigation through the court system. Disputes can usually be resolved in less time as well. The mediation process gives you control over the outcome of your dispute—mediators will help you communicate in different ways than you have. Here are five questions to determine if mediation might be right for you:
- Do you have two willing parties interested in an amicable parting? It takes two to tango, but even the most reluctant participants can usually see the benefits of avoiding large legal bills and months of delay and uncertainty in the courts. If you and your spouse are willing to focus on obtaining a resolution that works for your respective needs, a answer is always available. To paraphrase the Rolling Stones, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try real hard you can get what you need.” A mediator can help you find common ground.
- Do you prefer to make your own decision on how your case is resolved, rather than leaving it in the hands of a third party? By participating in mediation with a qualified mediator you control the calendar, you control the order of priorities, you control the costs, and you control the outcomes. None of this can be said of litigating through the court system. Even in the best of circumstances crowded court docket dockets and often inexperienced Judges can make the uncertainty of litigation unmanageable.
- Are you willing to negotiate in good faith and do you believe your spouse is willing to do so also? It’s not always easy, but if you can put aside negative emotions such as spite and vengeance, a transparent and open dialogue will invariably produce more stable and lasting outcomes. Agreements reached by consent invariably are more likely to last than those imposed by a Court.
- Are you willing to compromise and sacrifice? It won’t be easy but if you are willing to sacrifice less important things or issues in order to secure more important ones, the mediation can work. It’s a matter of being able to prioritize what you “need” over what you “want.”
- Are you looking for privacy? Many people do not realize that court filings and court proceedings are public. Judges have mandatory reporting requirements to agencies such as the IRS. Mediation is secure, private, and confidential. There can be tremendous value to keeping your family out of the public eye of the court system.
If these benefits seem attractive to you, explore the possibility of mediating. You might just save yourself a lot of time, money, and aggravation.
Drew Molotsky has over 25 years’ experience practicing exclusively Family Law and handling matters involving divorce, custody, alimony, child support, equitable distribution, domestic violence, and appeals in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Drew is a Rule 1:40 Qualified Mediator for the State of New Jersey and works with clients privately to resolve their family law issues..