“I heard Mediation can be better in resolving Disputes in Divorces than in other cases. Is this true?”
Cases involving family disputes are unique to many other cases. Mothers and fathers will have to continue to work together to raise their children. Each parent will need to ask the other parent to make accommodations to the parenting schedule from time to time when illness, work, weather, traffic or the occasional “flat tire” creates delays or otherwise makes keeping the usual parenting plan difficult. Even after children are grown, divorces spouses have to face one another at graduations, weddings, and other family functions. Although people get divorced, they continue to remain “families” for some purposes for many years to come. Mediation often assists families in reaching their common goal of maintaining a civil relationship for the betterment of their children.
Many parties are able to reach mediated agreements that fully resolve their legal cases, thus saving the expense, time, and overall emotional toll of court trials. (Statistics show that the greatest costs of litigation are incurred in trial preparation.) Parties know the intimate details of their personal lives and can better decide which possible alternatives will fit into their own lifestyle. Courts and judges, while hard-working and well-intentioned, often have to juggle busy criminal cases with family law matters. Some judges have had little experience with family law prior to becoming judges. Criminal cases generally take priority over domestic matters so divorces can experience delays. The court system often cannot give parties the time, or respond with the speed families need to fashion a result that fits a particular families’ needs. Mediation allows the parties to schedule the proceedings at a time that fits their own schedule and allows them the time they need to explore settlement.
Our experience is that attorneys enjoy the courtroom far more than clients do. Although it may be entertaining to watch someone “hammered” in cross examination on the witness stand in a television drama, most people don’t look forward to living that drama in real life. The resulting anger and upset does not seem to inspire people to feel like working together after the trial ends. The reality is that after court, the lawyers send out their bills, leaving clients to have to deal with the resentment and hurt feelings the litigation caused to the other spouse.
When understandings or agreements are reached through mediation, parties may wish to have them memorialized in a formal document. This document is most often called a “Memorandum of Understanding,” “MOU,” or “Mediated Agreement.” It is signed in a good faith commitment by all parties and, once fully executed, is often submitted to the court for its approval and order. Once the agreements in the document become an order of the court, they are fully enforceable under the law.
Mediation is used in a variety of situations including business relationships, family concerns, divorces, child custody matters, child and spousal (“alimony”) support cases, post-decree modification of financial and child-related matters and other family law matters. Mediation is also used in contract disputes, neighborhood conflicts, dissolution of marriage, homeowners association issues, workplace matters, consumer issues, and municipal, county, and district court cases. In short, when conflict or misunderstandings arise, mediation may well be the quickest, most amicable, method in which to resolve the situation, especially with people whose interests or circumstances include an ongoing relationship.
Lynn Landis-Brown is a Family Lawyer in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she founded Lynn Landis-Brown P.C. She listens compassionately and understands your legal, emotional and financial concerns due to her own experiences of divorce from her parents divorcing, her own divorce and now as a step-grandmother. With her background in litigations, she has great experiences with fighting for your rights in the courtroom.