Mediation Services For Family Law Matters
In the last 30 years, much has changed in the divorce process as well as in the resolution of other family law matters. It is a rare case that goes to trial, and most parties prefer to have a voice in their own outcomes rather than risk having an outcome imposed upon them by a judge. Going to court is also an expensive and lengthy process that can be draining (emotionally and financially) for everyone involved. To litigate needlessly often leaves long-standing scars on the parties, their children and their futures.
At Meridian Family Law, we are committed to avoiding such a destructive outcome. Our legal team embodies a different approach that serves our clients with respectful, sophisticated, adaptive representation outside court whenever possible. Mediation is required in nearly all divorce cases and is often conducted in other family law matters as well. It is usually successful, and our experience enables us to effectively negotiate and advocate for your interests in mediation.
We also use our extensive mediation experience to serve as neutral mediators for divorcing couples and others involved in family law issues. Our legal team includes attorneys who are trained mediators in the area of Washington family law, including divorce law. They understand how to help mediating parties determine their priorities, creatively problem-solve and find common ground. Drawing from their extensive legal experience and specialized training, our mediators facilitate workable resolutions that are tailored to your family’s unique needs.
Mediation is a process to discuss, negotiate and potentially settle some or all issues in your case. It always involves a neutral, third-party mediator who facilitates the communications. Mediation is typically not conducted in the same room with both parties. Rather, most parties are provided a separate space, and the mediator shuttles (physically or virtually) between each party’s room. This allows each party (and her/his attorney if they have one) to have a safe space to discuss their concerns and proposals freely and frankly with the mediator. This facilitated discussion often leads to a mutual agreement to resolve the legal matter instead of choosing the expensive court route.
The Many Benefits Of Mediation
Mediation in all family law cases offers many advantages compared to traditional litigation:
- Mediation is much less expensive than going to court.
- Mediation is a confidential process, so you can be free to open the discussion to creative solutions and keep personal issues out of the public court arena.
- Mediation allows for discussion, negotiation and resolution of all aspects of divorce or your family law matter, from property division to spousal maintenance and parenting plans (child custody) to child support.
- Mediation can also be focused on resolving only a part of your legal matter, which narrows the range of issues that might still require litigation.
- Mediation provides you more control in shaping the outcome of an issue, rather than having a court decision imposed on you by a judge who is essentially a stranger to your family.
- Mediation provides the opportunity to craft creative solutions to fit the needs of a specific case or issue.
- Mediation allows for a closer examination of complicated and emotional issues and allows the parties to have time to discuss their perspectives and concerns. This often provides a much more considered and reasoned outcome than what is received when litigating in our overwhelmed court system.
Do You Still Need An Attorney If You Have A Mediator?
While an attorney isn’t required for mediation, it is highly advisable to have one. The mediator is neutral and cannot provide legal advice nor advocate for a party or an outcome. They must remain neutral. Many issues addressed in mediation require an understanding of legal issues and the law. An attorney who specializes in family law or divorce can provide their expertise to a client during mediation, which is often critical to obtaining a correct, accurate and fair resolution.
Attorneys also can provide creative solutions. Our attorneys have years of practice and have often worked in hundreds of legal cases during their careers. They fashion resolutions regularly to fit the case. They regularly communicate in a team effort to draw upon the experience of their colleagues. They continue to improve their understanding of the law by way of continuing legal education classes. This provides our attorneys with a wealth of ideas, proposals and solutions to the problems clients often face. Many of our clients express relief and a reduction in stress knowing they have an experienced attorney on their side.