SERVICES: LEGAL AND MEDIATION Solutions in Family/Divorce Law

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary, effective and extremely cost savings means of resolving disputes wherein the parties themselves choose the outcome in a cooperative, non–adversarial manner.

It takes the case out of litigation and the adversarial system. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator to the decision making process; she is there to help parties identify the issues in their case, determine and gather needed information, inform the parties of the applicable law and their rights and responsibilities. She may also offer approaches or considerations, but does not impose a decision on the parties, unlike a judge. The parties are free to have outside consulting attorneys, but many choose not to.

Mediation is typically radically less expensive than litigation. It usually enables the parties much more freedom to rapidly conclude their case, and in a way they choose to, bringing to their results matters which might not have been important to, or even considered by a judge or counsel. In this way, mediation can be a creative and empowering experience which the parties can draw on in the future if the need for modification arises ( in the case of parenting plan and/or support). There is no Court timetable, and no unnecessary waiting. Most of the uncertainty is removed from the decision making process, as the parties, not a third person, are in control of the outcome. All of these things tend to reduce stress, trauma and wear and tear associated with divorce for the parties and their families.

Our legal system, family law in particular is driven and based on blaming others and finger pointing. Blame focuses on the other person(s) thereby distracting attention from the main issues, important needs and from finding constructive solutions. When we blame others we betray and disempower ourselves. Blame prolongs conflict and suffering. You as client have the ability to define your experience upon leaving a relationship. Most lawyers are skilled at adding fuel to the fire and prolonging the conflict which only brings in more fees for the lawyers. Mediation focuses on the issues that need resolution and eliminates chaos and confusion amplified by litigation. One of the consequences of mediation is that amicable resolutions achieved through mediation tend to preserve civility and respect in relationships for years after the dispute is resolved. Feelings are far different in litigated cases where a judge and/or lawyer who are virtual strangers to you and your family make life altering decisions for you and/or your children.

Are we good candidates for mediation?

If, despite the difficult circumstances and decisions you face, you nonetheless enjoy a good level of trust, there is mutual respect, and both of you have reasonable communication skills, you will probably do well in mediation.  Sometimes one party is more forceful than another; in this case, one of the mediator’s roles is to address this imbalance, and make sure that the other party’s needs and concerns are heard.

Who does the paperwork?

Typically, Ms. Ansari prepares all the paperwork, from filing the case through Judgment.

Will we need to go to Court at all?

No.  When a Marital Settlement Agreement addressing all the issues in your case has been finalized, it can be incorporated into a Judgment of Dissolution, and approved by the Court all on the paperwork.  Neither the parties, nor the mediator, need to appear in Court.

What is the first step?

Ms. Ansari invites each party individually to have a brief telephone conversation with her to discuss mediation generally, without getting into the substantive issues in their case, and so they can get a sense of her.  If the parties then wish to set an initial meeting, they should identify a few mutually available times, and contact Ms. Ansari.