1. Mediation is often required by court ordered. In most family law cases, the presiding judge will send the parties in family matters to mediation parties before trial and during pending litigation at least once. Depending on the judge, often cases are sent to mediation multiple times during litigation. Mediation is popular with the courts because the judicial system simply doesn’t have the resources to hear every issue in every case and because the judicial system simply prefers not to make decisions relating to children and finances if they don’t have to. Nobody knows your client’s family better than you and your client. Nobody knows your client’s finances better than you and your client.
2. Mediation Saves Time. In a number of hours, your client’s pending divorce can be fully resolved. Settled. No more hearings, no more trial, no more legal bills. It is amazing what can be accomplished in a day of mediation after months, sometimes years, of discovery and litigation.
3. Mediation Saves Relationships: The animosity that develops in litigation is particularly damaging in family law, where the parties may deal with each other for years after the trial is over. Rather than fostering hostility, mediation helps the parties develop the skills necessary to continue discussing, negotiating, and cooperating with each other for the long term.
4. Mediation often results in better compliance: When couples have the opportunity to work out their own agreement, studies have proven that they are more likely to abide by the agreement and avoid additional litigation costs to enforce it later.
5. Information exchanged in mediation is Private: Often litigation involves matters the parties may wish to keep private. All documents filed with the court are public records that can be viewed upon request. Mediation, with its protection of confidentiality, is well suited to protect the privacy interests of the parties.
6. Mediation can Result in Creative Solutions: The professionals and the parties can be creative in crafting solutions to their unique issues whereas a judge, who must get through a big caseload, usually applies cookie cutter solutions without considering the couples uniqueness.
7. Mediation Engages the Client and Allows for Self Determination: There is no judge or arbitrator to impose a decision upon your client. Nobody knows the needs of the family better than your client.
8. A Mediator’s Good Rapport Helps Negotiations: A skilled mediator (such as Deborah R. Beylus) can develop rapport – a relationship of understanding, empathy, and trust – with each of the disputing parties. Rapport encourages parties to communicate fully with the mediator – often providing her with the information she needs to find a mutually acceptable settlement. Rapport is essential to building the trust needed for parties to share their interests, priorities, fears, and weaknesses. This information is often the key to settlement.
9. Mediation is a Good Business Strategy. Mediation is not about being nice or cooperative or respectful. Mediation is Good Business. Make the most of the process. Mediation will be more likely to be successful if you and your client:
- Prepare. Mediation may very well be the last day of the dispute. As such, you should be just as prepared for it as you would be for a trial. Prepare all requested mediation materials, review your evidence and review the previous negotiations that have been presented in the case.
- Expect the unexpected. Be willing to absorb new information or see things from a new perspective. This information can represent a new opportunity to re-evaluate your position or avoid a possible problem.
- Listen. Mediation can be a very cathartic experience. Actively listen to hear the other side’s perspective and what he or she really wants.
Are creative. Mediation is not limited to the basic remedies provided by a court order. Consider new ways that may help both parties resolve the conflict.
Watch your p’s and q’s. Monitor your client’s behavior and body language during mediation and make sure that he or she is not sending out the wrong vibe.
Re-evaluate what will make your client happy. Reconsider whether your original position is reasonable in light of new information and if there may be a way to settle the case in a way that you or your client had not anticipated.
10. Mediation allows for Patience: Often all that is needed to settle a case is some patience with the parties. Divorce is one of the most difficult emotional events of a lifetime, so it is important to give the parties as much time as they need to fully express emotions and ideas, while at the same time focusing intently on the primary task – dispute resolution. A mediator who is tenacious and does not give up can settle a majority of cases and can even settled cases with parties who have claimed they simply didn’t see a way to resolution.
If you wish to schedule mediation, call Deborah Beylus at 561-789-0710 or go to www.southfloridamediationservices.com/schedule/.