Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of Mediation

Mediation has become an increasingly common way to settle disputes. In mediation, the two parties sit down with an impartial third party whose job it is to help them work out a settlement that is mutually advantageous. The mediator will help the parties reach an agreement but has no power to impose any particular solution.

If an agreement is reached, the court will almost always incorporate the parties' agreement into their divorce. When parents make an agreement about child custody, parenting time or child support, the judge must also find that the agreement is in the best interests of the child. However, this is rarely a problem in practice.

When mediation works

The pluses of mediation are easy to see:

  • You almost always save money and time compared to what it would cost to take your case to trial.
  • Your dispute is mediated in private, and none of the parties can ever testify in court about what was said in the mediation sessions.
  • Unlike court sessions, mediation sessions are designed to emphasize common ground.

If the mediation does not work, you reserve your right to have a judge hear the dispute. For all of these reasons, we recommend that most of our clients try to mediate their disputes.

When it does not work

There are certain situations in which mediation does not work and can even be counterproductive:

  • When one spouse wants a divorce and the other wants reconciliation, the reluctant spouse can refuse to agree to any reasonable terms.
  • If there has been a history of domestic violence -- if threats, fear and the need for control have been a theme in your marriage -- it is unlikely that you will reach an agreement that is fair and reasonable.

If you are considering using a mediator, call the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins. While we like to use mediators in resolving divorce cases, we also make sure that it is right for your particular circumstances. And if the mediation does not work, we are ready to help you get the best results in court.