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Mediation is the resolving of disputes by use of a facilitator. During mediation the parties, themselves, reach a resolution. It is an alternative to a trial and can augment the court process. A mediator will help the parties resolve their disputes by encouraging open communication and facilitating productive discussion.
The mediation process allows the parties to control the outcome (as opposed to a judge). It is a less formal, more personal process, and can be kept private.
Mediation may be ordered by a judge, or parties can agree to go to mediation. Judges will normally only order mediation in disputes involving child custody or visitation related issues. The parties involved are free to agree to mediate maintenance or property distribution issues. For example, a joint parenting agreement entered at the time of divorce could specify that mediation will first be used if a dispute about custody arrangements were ever to arise.
While mediation may not be appropriate in every divorce, it is an option to consider in order to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.
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