What is mediation and and why is it a better way?
Mediation offers hope in situations that initially feel hopeless.
Mediation is a way to explore resolutions to the various issues that arise when you are seeking to end a marriage, establish custody and support or other family issues without the costly, uncertain and often damaging effects of the adversarial court process. These resolutions can be much broader and creative than those a judge could order on his/her own. Most importantly, they reflect your desires and wishes for yourself and your family.
Mediation is a voluntary process. When you make the decision to mediate a dispute you do so of your own free will. Mediation sessions can be scheduled with all parties in mind and with the desire to resolve their disputes in a calmer and more peaceful way. Because it is voluntary either party can decide at any time whether to continue the process.
It is completely confidential. This means all of the discussions and negotiations that take place during mediation remain private. Even in the event where mediation may become impossible to work out issues, the matters discussed in mediation cannot be used against you in the court process. Discussions that take place during mediation can never be disclosed even to a judge without both parties consenting. Importantly, the mediator cannot testify or reveal information. Knowing your information will remain private allows you to feel comfortable and safe in exploring issues and resolutions.
Our approach to mediation is to educate our clients on the law and to provide information and resources on the issues they are likely to encounter during the process. This means that informed and thoughtful decisions are made for the present situation and can plan for the future. When appropriate, we may encourage you to consult an attorney and/or other professionals about specific questions that may arise during the mediation.
Although we are lawyers, this setting is non-adversarial. In the mediation setting we are neutrals, not advocates. We cannot and will not represent either party, we do not provide advice or express opinions on what clients should do in a certain situation. However, because we are lawyers, we are able to complete the process entirely with the advantage of being able to draft the legal filings and agreements crafted for presentation to a judge.
Mediation vs. Litigation
As attorneys who have litigated cases for several decades, we have seen first-hand the effects of war on clients and their families. This is the primary reason we have chosen mediation as an alternative means of dispute resolution. We mediate to allow the parties to work out solutions specific to their unique family and financial situations. To be in control of the outcome without injuring yourself or your family, and especially your children.
At best, litigation can be a lengthy, costly, complicated and a very stressful process with uncertain results. In the worst cases, couples are depleted, often leaving the family and extended family damaged, sometimes beyond repair. In a court setting the case is initiated by one party filing a “complaint” and serving it upon the other party. From that point forward the case proceeds according to the time frames dictated by the law, the court rules and the judge’s schedules.
Court orders and judgements are limited by guidelines set forth by each State and designed to encompass ‘generic’ situations that are most ‘typical’ in family law cases. In a court process, many of the proceedings are held in an open courtroom where the intimate details of your case will be aired in front of the judge, court officers and clerks, as well as other attorneys and their clients. You are at the mercy of litigation process, which is all too often unforgiving and relentless.
Advantages of Divorce Mediation
There are several advantages to the mediation process for divorce and/or family law matters. Even if the case is or has already been in the court system, the parties can decide to try mediation.
- Control the outcome -less of a chance of causing irreparable damage to the family, especially the children;
- Create a parenting plan that meets the family’s needs now and anticipates possible changes in the future;
- Allows the parties to craft a resolution of their respective financial obligations rather than have the uncertainty of a judge’s decision;
- Control the Cost – know the cost at the outset rather than the uncertainty of ongoing court battles with unknown costs;
- Flexibility to revisit issues in the future without the necessity of going through a costly and time consuming Court process; and,
- Start the process anytime – it’s never too late! Even if the case is in the court system, the parties can decide to try mediation.
We believe everyone deserves this opportunity.
We are proud to have Family Mediation Attorney, Lisa S. Carlson, join our team at the Law Offices of Juliane Soprano.
Over the last 15 years we have worked with Attorney Carlson on a variety of issues that arise during the course of workers’ compensation and disability related cases. Frequently and unfortunately, the financial and emotional strain of an injury or illness can cause great stress on a family system. In many instances this leads to divorce or other disputes that arise for non-married couples.
In an effort to better serve our clients, we have decided to expand our practice into the area of family and divorce mediation. As a litigator in the family and probate courts for many years, Attorney Carlson has witnessed the benefits of being able to mediate a dispute rather than pursue a court process.
“Offering clients an affordable and efficient process utilizing a flat fee structure over the course of four or five sessions has been key in resolving family issues while maintaining the integrity of the family. Divorce mediation has the ability to bring a family together rather than tearing it apart.” ~Lisa S. Carlson, Esq.
Attorney Carlson has mediated cases both privately and as a court appointed neutral. She is certified through Mediation Works, Inc., a forty-hour mediation training in addition to Conciliation and Guardian ad Litem training with the Trial Courts of the Commonwealth.
Prior to the practice of law for almost two decades, Attorney Carlson had successful careers in the financial services and business and corporate industries as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for two privately held Corporations. Attorney Carlson states, “We offer an enlightened perspective to our clients based on our education and training in the law coupled with our expertise in the business sector and backgrounds in the financial services industries.”