Separation ends a Relationship-NOT a family
“ The next stage of life can be compromised and contaminated if the court hears evidence here today. Rather than press that button, there may be wisdom spending time with a mediator instead of thrashing it out in court.”
Judge Patrick Durcan, Ennis Family Court, Irish Times, Sept. 17,2017
Mediation lessens the financial and emotional damage to your family
- You and your spouse retain control of the financial and parenting decisions
- You control the timing and the meeting schedule
- You have a more comprehensive and durable agreement since you arrived at it together in a privacy not possible in Court.
- Your costs are significantly less.
The conflict is a factor we are in control of. That is not to say that it is easy. I routinely see parents find bravery and self-restraint in the interest of their children. When they are having difficulty, it is natural to lecture our children about doing the right thing. But can we show them what that looks like in this situation? I think the answer is yes.
Are we right for Mediation?
The entire focus in mediation is on resolving your differences in a respectful, cost-effective manner. It can be a useful approach when you both:
- Are willing to meet together vs. having attorneys communicate for you?
- Are you willing to provide full and honest disclosure?
- Do you want to control the timing and outcome of your separation or divorce?
- Are able to make trade-offs to come to an agreement?
Mediation is mandatory for disagreements about how to divide parenting time and any other significant parenting issues. Even if that is not the case, it is preferred unless there are clear reasons that it would not be appropriate in your situation.
What are my choices?
There are many ways to use the services of attorneys. Be aware they are able to act in a "limited scope" capacity rather than as your legal representative. Were you to chose this option, you do not pay a retainer but also do not get the benefit of an attorney's legal advice since they are not your representative in court. Engaged in a "limited scope" capacity attorneys are limited to the preparation of your already agreed upon divorce documents. For a fee they will prepare and file the documents for you.
Another choice would be to engage an attorney but direct their efforts towards giving you advice in mediation. Why might you need this service? It is important to understand that you can not look to the Mediator, even if they are an attorney, for legal advice. Why? When an attorney acts in the role of a Mediator, they are prohibited from stepping out a stance of neutrality. Neutrality would be violated if they gave legal advice. This option is called "Attorney-assisted mediation." It can offer the best of both worlds to many families. The process is more settlement-oriented and cooperative than traditional litigation. At the end of the mediation, one of the attorneys will volunteer to write up what has been agreed upon in the mediation and submit it to court.
An advantage traditional Litigation has to offer is more detailed attention to discovering the complete picture of a couple's financial position. This is often not required and if so, can be included in the mediation process if one side asks for it. Although there are couples that are best served by traditional litigation, Family law judges encourage a pause to consider settling cooperatively in one of these hybrid models. If performed competently they will generally result in significantly reduced fees and time period.
Consider booking a session to discuss what is right for your family and also receive referrals for settlement-oriented attorneys.