Family law cases often involve the most personal and intimate details of one’s marriage and family life. Although a judge and a jury are available to resolve divorces, issues of child support, spousal support and other family matters, most people would rather not have to argue disputes about such personal and often painful issues in public. Moreover, once the dispute is placed in the hands of a judge or jury, neither party has control over the outcome.
At Silvas & Routzon, we are firm believers that in most cases, disputes in family matters can be resolved through negotiation. Mediation is often an invaluable tool in that negotiation process.
Clients often state that they’ve heard the term “mediation”, but are a bit unclear as to what the term actually means. In practice, mediation is a fairly simple process. Mediation is the process by which the parties come together, in the presence of a mediator, to attempt to resolve their differences. A mediator is an individual (usually an attorney), trained to help parties resolve their conflicts. The mediator meets with each party, listens to the various perspectives and stories, and identifies the primary issues. He or she then spends time communicating with the parties and their attorneys, pointing out the various areas where common ground may exist and reaching consensus on as many issues as possible. Often a skilled mediator can bring the entire case to resolution.
Mediation is a confidential and non-binding process. In other words, in general, nothing discussed, disclosed or communicated during the mediation can be used in court and the mediator does not have the power to force the parties to settle. Moreover, the mediator does not make the decisions…the parties themselves must agree on any issue for there to be a resolution. Although clients are often apprehensive at the outset, most find mediation to be a very helpful tool in resolving the issues and avoiding the long and costly trial process.
At Silvas & Routzon, we understand that mediation can be extremely valuable in helping people resolve their conflicts and we believe that using mediation and avoiding a costly and public trial is often in our client’s best interest.