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WHEN IS MEDIATION APPROPRIATE?

Terence Daniel Doyle, Esq.


Mediation occurs in many different kinds of legal disputes, but is especially common when a couple is divorcing. Mediation is defined as a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which parties involved in a legal dispute work with an independent professional third party to facilitate communication and compromise. The goal is for those involved in the dispute to find a resolution on their own without needing to litigate the issue and have a judge decide the outcome of the disagreement. Mediation occurs in many different kinds of legal disputes, but is especially common when a couple is divorcing. Mediation provides many benefits for a couple who is ending their marriage but it works only under certain circumstances when the couple is willing to work together and when certain conditions can be met.

MEDIATION IS THE BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTION IN MANY DIVORCE CASES Mediation should be pursued in a divorce situation whenever there is a reasonable chance the mediation will succeed and whenever the parties involved are committed to fulfilling the goals of resolving their divorce issues amicably. Mediation is the preferred method of resolving disputes in a divorce situation for many reasons including the following:  Mediation is less costly. When mediation is successful, the divorce issues do not need to go to court, which involves both husband and wife paying court costs

When Is Mediation Appropriate  Doyle Golde & Grossman Family Law Group  925-314-2320

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and legal fees for the duration of the trial. It is much more cost-effective for the couple to sit down briefly in negotiations, arrange an agreement and have their attorneys draft it than it is to litigate and present evidence to a judge.  Mediation is less stressful. Since mediation focuses on the parties working together to come to a compromise, it does not create an adversarial relationship between husband and wife. There is generally less animosity and stress as the couple works together to resolve issues, which is better for them and a significantly better situation for children involved.  Mediation is more likely to result in a desirable outcome. Since the spouses are deciding on the key divorce issues together and since neither party is required to accept the outcome of mediation, it is more likely that the divorce agreement will make sense for those involved and will take personal family issues into account.  Mediation is more private. The spouses can make decisions together without having to share personal financial information and personal details about their lives in open court. These and other benefits mean that mediation should be pursued as a first step in many situations and that litigation should also be chosen in divorce if the couples cannot agree in mediation and/or if there are certain circumstances that make mediation inappropriate.

IS MEDIATION APPROPRIATE IN YOUR DIVORCE? Mediation is appropriate when: • Both parties involved have made the commitment to compromise and treat each other fairly in resolving the issues in the divorce. Because mediation is When Is Mediation Appropriate  Doyle Golde & Grossman Family Law Group  925-314-2320

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voluntary, either spouse can walk away at any time. Furthermore, mediators cannot require either spouse to come to an agreement and will not issue rulings or take sides. This means mediation works only if those involved acre committed to making it work. If either spouse is unwilling to be fair or to compromise, mediation is simply a waste of time and money. • There is no risk of abuse or coercion. Mediation requires the spouses to work closely together. If the relationship has become abusive or if one spouse is exerting intense pressure on the other to give in to his or her will, mediation is unlikely to be successful and may be a difficult and contentious process that causes significant stress. No one should be forced to face an abuser and try to work out a compromise. • Both spouses are willing to be up front and honest about their financial situation. Unlike a judge, a mediator doesn’t have the power to subpoena anyone or to compel a spouse to turn over records to a forensic accountant. It is necessary to know what each spouse has in terms of money and assets in order to come to a fair and reasonable divorce settlement. If someone is hiding money or will not disclose financial information, mediation becomes impossible.

When Is Mediation Appropriate  Doyle Golde & Grossman Family Law Group  925-314-2320

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• Both spouses understand their legal rights.

About the Author

When you come to an agreement yourself in your divorce, you do not want to give up your right to your children nor do you want to give up your right to your share of marital assets. You need to understand what you would likely receive if a judge decided your case in a litigated divorce so you can evaluate whether a proposed settlement agreement is a reasonable one or not. The best way to ensure you understand your rights prior to mediation and that mediation is fair for you is to be represented by a qualified and experienced divorce attorney with mediation experience. Under these circumstances, mediation can be the best solution for all parties involved. Mediation is especially beneficial in making decisions about child custody, as creating a parenting plan without litigation can allow both parents to maintain a relationship with their child while taking into account what is best for the children and family.

Terence Daniel Doyle, Esq. is the founder of the Family Law Group, Danville CA. Terence Daniel Doyle brings a powerful background and a strong skill set to the firm. He is one of only 1100 attorneys in the state of California to hold the unique standing of Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) from the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. In addition to family law, his areas of practice include civil litigation, as well as estate planning and taxation. Mr. Doyle established the firm in 1984, and maintains a strong vision for the law group and its clients. Terence Doyle’s greatest strength is his ability to apply his knowledge of case law to his client’s particular situation, and then devising a strategy which produces the best possible outcome. Mr. Doyle is a member of the State Bar in the states of California, Arizona and Hawaii. He holds his law degree from Golden Gate University, with a B.A. in Mathematics from St. Mary’s College of California. He is a Danville California native where he resides with his family.

When Is Mediation Appropriate  Doyle Golde & Grossman Family Law Group  925-314-2320

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When Is Mediation Appropriate?  

Mediation provides many benefits for a couple who is ending their marriage but it works only under certain circumstances when the couple is...

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