This is a continuation of our previous article, 7 Questions (and Answers) About Mediation.
When facing a divorce, various options exist that don’t require litigation. Referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the most common strategy used in these cases is mediation. Here are seven more of the most frequently asked questions about mediation and their answers.
What is the Role of the Mediator?
Your mediator is a neutral third party whose job is to facilitate the process of reaching an agreement. The mediator cannot give legal advice or act as either party’s attorney.
How Do I Choose a Mediator?
Similar to choosing your divorce attorney, look for a mediator that has experience with family law issues. If yours is a divorce that deals with custody matters or significant assets, find out if they have mediated similar cases in the past. Your divorce attorney will likely have access to local resources and can recommend someone to help.
How is Mediation Different from Arbitration?
Arbitration is another type of alternative dispute resolution, but it differs from mediation in a way that is important to understand. Like mediation, the parties get together with a third party to resolve their differences. But, unlike mediation, an arbitrator acts like a judge and has the power to render a decision that will be legally binding.
Who Pays the Cost of Mediation?
Mediation is a less costly alternative to litigation, but it isn’t free. There is a charge for the mediator’s services. Most couples split the cost of mediation, but one party or another can agree to pay the entire cost.
Are There Any Risks to Using Divorce Mediation?
There really are no risks to using mediation during your divorce. If you aren’t happy with the process, you can go to court. The risk of not trying mediation is a lengthy and costly court battle, as well as the chance that the judge will issue an order that you don’t view as fair and equitable.
What If Mediation Doesn’t Work?
Mediation is successful in a majority of divorce cases. But, even if you aren’t able to resolve all of your issues through mediation, there’s a good chance that you can reach an agreement on several of them. This would still make it less costly to litigate what is left.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Mediation?
You don’t need a lawyer for mediation, but there are benefits to having one during this process. If your spouse has one, you will immediately be at a disadvantage. A family law attorney can also advise you during the mediation, protect your interests, and ensure that you are negotiating a deal that is fair before it goes to the court for approval.
If you have questions about your divorce or are interested in pursuing an alternative dispute resolution such as mediation, we can help. Contact Bighorse & Associates today for a free consultation. We are family law attorneys serving clients throughout Pierce, King, and Thurston counties.