Mediation in Family Law Matters

Mediation is a process that helps disputing parties work toward a resolution. It can be helpful in family law matters, civil disputes and business relationships. It is less expensive than a lawsuit and provides a more timely resolution. It is also more confidential than a court proceeding and allows participants to discuss the underlying issues in their dispute. The focus is on needs and interests, which can lead to more creative solutions than a judge would be likely to find.

At mediation, the mediator will usually begin with an introduction and the opportunity for each party to describe their concerns. Then, if the parties have attorneys, they will confer privately. If the mediator does not have an attorney with her, she will ask that parties speak for themselves. In the course of a session, the mediator may caucus with one or both parties, meeting separately in private sessions (usually referred to as “caucuses”). The information revealed during these meetings is confidential and cannot be used at the next joint session, unless the party agrees to share the information.Parties should prepare for the mediation by thinking broadly about their case and dispute and the underlying circumstances that caused it. They should be prepared to explain their side of the story, and to acknowledge emotions that may come up in the course of discussion. They should consider the impact the dispute has on their finances, job performance, mental health and other relationships.

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