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A contested divorce can leave the parties both emotionally and financially devastated – but it does not have to be that way. If the parties are prepared to work together, then they can make use of a process called Mediation to help resolve the issues in dispute so that the divorce can them proceed as an uncontested matter. LAWCARE can assist in the preparation of all the necessary legal documents from the initial filing to the preparation of the judgment. If there are minor children involved, the parties can seek the assistance of the conciliation court or hire an independent mediator. For other financial and property issues an independent mediator can assist in resolving these issues, of course, if there are both children and financial issues at stake, the same mediator can be used.

Using a mediator in this way will save the parties thousands of dollars in legal fees and emotionally feeling better about the divorce process.

Statistics confirm that more than 90% of family law cases will resolve themselves before trial. Therefore, you have to decide if it makes sense to hire an attorney for thousands of dollars for a case that probably will settle through negotiations, or is it better to try and negotiate the case first. The parties will generally share a mediator’s costs, who is there to assist the parties for relatively short mediation sessions. Mediator’s are generally family law attorney’s who practice regularly and know how the court’s will mainly rule on an issue, therefore, parties who mediate are getting first hand expert assistance. The entire process is conducted in an amicable atmosphere as opposed to being adversarial in a courtroom setting.

In addition, mediation means that the parties are coming together to resolve the issues as opposed to a stranger, a Judge, making decisions for the family. Invariably one or both parties will come away unhappy, even bitter and thousand of dollars in legal fees. Further, mediation is much better in maintaining relationships, while litigation, tends to destroy or at best weakens the relationship.  Where there are children involved it is important to remember that you will likely be dealing with the other parent until the child is out of school, so it is important to keep the relationship amicable as possible. Agreements made between parties, after compromise, are much easier generally to enforce than a court judgment.

What might be important to some people is that mediation proceedings are confidential, unlike litigation, everything discussed and hopefully agreed to in mediation is private and not available to the public. LAWCARE promotes the use of mediation, if necessary, and can assist in finding a mediator that would suit both parties.

Adapted by Jeff Oliver (2013)

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