Mediation is the process of resolving disputes by use of a third party facilitator in which the parties, themselves, reach a resolution. Mediation 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, identifying different options, and otherwise facilitating productive discussion.
The mediation process allows the parties to control the outcome (as opposed to a judge). It is a less informal and personal process, and can be kept private.
Mediation may be ordered by a judge, or the parties can agree to go to mediation. While a judge will normally only order mediation in disputes involving child custody or visitation related issues, the parties are free to agree to mediate other issues as well, such as maintenance or property distribution. The parties may also agree in advance to mediate certain issues. For example, a joint parenting agreement entered at the time of divorce could specify that mediation will first be used if a dispute were ever to arise as to certain custody arrangements.
While mediation may not be appropriate in every divorce, it is another option we will consider in our effort to achieve the best possible outcome for our client in an efficient manner.