Mediation and Arbitration are great alternatives to traditional litigation.
Mediation is neutral process where parties select a neutral and then attend mediation sessions with or without lawyers. Family litigants resolve issues such as distribution of assets and debts, alimony, child support, custody and parenting time. Civil litigants resolve issues such as business, probate and employment issues. The mediator will not render a decision for you on an issue, but will assist the parties in coming to their own resolution of issues. Mediation is confidential, which means it is not admissible in court, and not a final resolution until there is a written agreement signed by the parties. In most family and civil cases, parties will be required to participate in mediation at some point in the process and so it is often beneficial to get the process started early to expedite a resolution of your matter.
Because of our lawyers’ considerable experience representing clients in litigation and in mediation and arbitration, we understand how many issues are resolved in court and can use that knowledge to assist parties in reaching a resolution in mediation, without having to litigate the matter at significant cost.
We love being able to assist parties in resolving their family disputes as a mediator because it allows for more flexibility and creativity than litigation on issues like custody, child support, alimony, college contributions and separation of assets, including complex deferred compensation packages. In court, a judge, who is bound and controlled by statutes and case law, will make a ruling on the issues before them at that moment and say it’s final. In mediation, the parties work together, with or without counsel, to find solutions that are best for them and their children. Parties also move at their own pace in mediation, without the pressure of litigation deadlines. “People appreciate having more control over the process.” Daly says. Parents can hammer out detailed custody agreements with clauses for vacations, grandparent visitation, make-up time, babysitting, and parenting time and can have arrangements that differ significantly from “traditional” agreements. Mediation also keeps children away from a party’s frustration and explosive anger that can come with litigation. Mediation allows couples to plan for future events as well, whereas judges can and will only handle issues that exist in the present. Daly says, “Couples in mediation can deal with the ‘what if’ now as part of a comprehensive settlement and avoid litigation and the significant costs that ensue from that in the future.” For example, the parties can create a resolution to the termination of alimony in the future or contribution to a child’s college expenses that work for them and that they will probably never be able to achieve in litigation.