Frequently Asked Questions
Mediation is a process that gives the parties the opportunity to resolve issues for their children and themselves rather than to have a judge decide for them. When parties design their own solutions to their own problems, they are more likely to be satisfied with the agreement and to follow it.
Successful mediation often reduces the hostility that may accompany a court proceeding. Reduction in the conflict between parents is beneficial to both parents and their children. Also, a mediated parenting agreement eliminates the need for a trial over issues concerning children, thus avoiding a negative experience that can be emotionally damaging for children.
Mediation is generally less expensive than a contested trial. A successful mediation will often reduce attorney fees and court costs. It also may reduce expenses for appraisals, accounting services, expert witnesses, and other expenses that are normally part of adversarial court proceedings.
Mediation does not require a lawyer; in fact, part of the advantage of mediation is the lack of a lawyer and the corresponding legal fees. However, you may want to hire a lawyer as a consultant to offer advice during the mediation which is substantially cheaper than hiring a lawyer to litigate your case. Also, a lawyer should generally be consulted to discuss the consequences of the mediation and any settlement.
Statistically, most mediation cases only last a day or two. This is partly because mediation is less cumbersome than litigation, but also because people typically take smaller disputes to mediation and save really large complex claims for litigation. Larger business and divorce/custody mediation may last significantly longer - weeks even - but this is still much quicker than traditional litigation.