Mediation Attorney Serving Alabama in Guntersville, Arab, and Huntsville
If you have a serious family matter that you need to face, but you have been dreading a confrontation or don’t even know the proper way to approach the subject with your spouse, partner or family member, consider mediation as a way to address those issues and get them resolved without the anger, stress or animosity which can develop from either avoiding the problem or trying to deal with it through litigation or some other adversarial process.
How Mediation Works
A mediator is a person who is trained to facilitate communication between parties and get them to see and understand the interests which lay behind the positions each side has taken, with the goal of building consensus and bringing the parties together to reach an agreement on the issues at hand. There are many different forms and styles of mediation, so it is impossible to describe what your mediation will look like in detail. The mediator may work with both parties together or in separate rooms or both, and the mediator may do most of the talking or encourage the parties to do most of the talking, either to each other directly or through the mediator. Mediation is a fluid process, and the mediator will adapt the dynamics of the process as necessary to move toward agreement.
Prior to any mediation, we conduct a pre-conference with the participants so that we all clearly understand what we hope to accomplish through the mediation. At the start of the mediation itself, we will discuss the ground rules and the goals for the session, so that everyone will know what to expect and how the process will basically work. When an agreement is reached, we will lay out the details of what was decided to make sure we all understand what was agreed upon. You will still have the opportunity to have a formal document drafted and reviewed by an independent attorney before any final documents are signed or submitted to the court.
Why Choose Mediation
The benefits of mediation are truly innumerable, but some of the advantages of mediation most frequently mentioned are the cost, timeframe and confidential nature of the process.
Mediation is almost always a cost-effective solution when compared to litigation or collaborative law. Because the process is usually concentrated in time and in an intimate setting, without extensive discovery or the use of experts and other specialists, a mediation typically costs thousands less than the average trial or protracted litigation process.
The process can be completed in terms of days or weeks, compared to months of negotiation, discovery and litigation, or more than a year if your case goes to trial.
A mediation is conducted in a private, confidential setting, as opposed to litigation where all court filings are matters of public record. A couple who wishes to keep their finances and other aspects of their private lives private, or a family dealing with difficult issues involving an elder family member, will appreciate the confidentiality of the mediation process.
The benefits of mediation go far beyond these practical considerations. Mediation allows you to have a say in the decision-making process, to be heard and to make sure your needs are met. Litigation often results with one party dissatisfied, making the result unworkable. The parties must often return to court to enforce court orders to receive child support or spousal support, or make sure one party fulfills its legal obligations. But when the parties collaborate on the outcome, they have a vested interest in the result and are much more likely to voluntarily comply. With so much at stake and an uncertain outcome, litigation breeds anxiety, fear and stress for all involved. Your mediator, on the other hand, is trained to defuse stress and anxiety and help the parties work together for their mutual benefit.
Why aren’t all disputes resolved through mediation?
Considering all of the benefits of mediation over litigation, it is a wonder why anyone chooses to resolve their dispute in court. In order for mediation to be successful, both parties must commit to the process. This means that they must give their trust to the process and be willing to be open with each other and open to exploring new avenues to settlement. Unfortunately, some people become so attached to their positions that they are unable or unwilling to focus on the interests behind those positions, or to understand what the interests on the other side are. And sometimes some people would rather have a one-side victory than a negotiated agreement, even at the risk of coming out on the losing end of that one-sided victory.
If you feel that mediation may be the right choice for you in dealing with your marital or family conflict or situation, contact a mediation attorney at The Hawkins Law Firm so we can discuss your matter and how mediation can help.