More and more courts are turning to mediation before your divorce case can go to trial. The goal is to settle your case without trial. I would say 80-90 percent of all family law cases settle before trial. The 10-20 percent of cases that do not settle tend to have common traits:
1. Mediation never occurred
2. The mediator did not have the trust of the litigants
3. There was an issue the mediator could not handle due to its complexity.
Mediators can be retired judges, family law attorneys, and occasionally, therapists. Picking the right mediator for the case depends on the issues.
If your case involves high conflict custody, you want a mediator who regularly is involved in high conflict custody cases.
If your case involves large and/or complex assets, you need a mediator who understands these concepts.
If your case involves issues of domestic violence, most mediators will not touch it, and the court system will not require mediation. In my opinion, these are the most important cases to mediate! If the court system gives up on you by not requiring mediation, especially in a high conflict case, the court system is sending you the wrong message. These are the cases that need settling the most. They are message at trial and are likely to recur, again and again, due to their high conflict nature.
The job of the family law mediator is to build trust,, even before the mediation begins.
Want to learn more about mediations? Give us a call at SIEGELLAW, where Harry Siegel is a long-time mediator of such issues as
Modification of Custody or Child Support
One last thought. Mediators are required to disclose their "style" of mediation, as there are many. Harry Siegel is a problem-solving mediator. He listens, learns, works with the parties to compile a list of topics, and then starts going through them, one by one.
Sometimes, the mediation occurs all in one room. Sometimes, we break and go into separate rooms.
Where there are potential issues of violence or intimidation, Harry almost always keeps the parties separated from each other.