For family law attorneys, mediations represent the “bread and butter” of their divorce practice. While I have participated in over fifty divorce trials, the number of mediations I’ve been involved in is well into the hundreds. These numbers result from these two facts: (a) almost all family law cases entail at least one mediation because they are required by law before going to trial, and (b) the majority of family law disputes do not result in a trial because of the considerable advantages of settling the issues in the divorce at the mediation.
The venue and settings of a mediation explains why they’re generally effective.
First, the divorcing couple and their family law attorneys are finally present in one room with no distractions. The mediation forum presents the first opportunity for all of the players in the case to discuss openly the prospect of settling their disputes. In comparison, negotiations through e-mails and phone calls are inefficient and unreliable.
Second, the confidentiality that is bestowed upon the discussions that take place in a mediation allows the parties to make offers and concessions without fear of their statements being used against them later in court.
And finally, the mediator, unlike a judge or a magistrate, is actively seeking to bridge the divide between the parties and facilitate a resolution. It is easy to forget that mediators cannot take sides or order the parties to do anything. They remain completely neutral throughout the mediation. However, skilled mediators can subtly nudge one stubborn litigant into compromising enough to forge a settlement. Not all mediators possess this skill, though. This explains why experienced family lawers prefer using mediators that they’ve successfully worked with before.
Family law clients must keep in mind that settling at a divorce mediation almost always results in a more enforceable and less expensive outcome. When both parties contribute to the terms of a mediated agreement, they feel more invested in it than they would a ruling from a family law judge. The peace of mind that results in finality, combined with the money saved from not having to pay a trial retainer, also convinces most family law litigants to settle at their mediations. Finally, the appeal of risk-avoidance cannot be overstated. Even seasoned family law attorneys like myself cannot precisely predict how a judge will rule. Settling at the mediation saves litigants from the anxiety that surrounds this uncertainty.
If you need representation form a divorce or family law attorney in the Orlando metro area please call me, Eduardo J. Mejias at (407) 260-6001 and make an appointment for an initial consultation that will be free. At this consultation I will ask you to explain your situation and set forth a set of realistic goals and a plan of action to achieve your goals. Then I will quote you the lawyer retention fee we will charge at AAA Family Law for representing you in your case. Almost always, this will be a fixed (or flat) fee and you will know it before paying or signing any contract.