Yes. And in a spirit of full disclosure, given that I am a trained mediator, I do have great confidence in the mediation process. I’m a big believer in it.
As a family law attorney, I also coach my clients that are going through mediation and I assure them that if they, or we, have done our due diligence to identify and retain a qualified mediator, then the fear of bias or the fear of sympathy for one spouse or another is not a realistic concern.
Competent family law mediators are trained to be neutral, to be objective and to maintain that neutrality throughout the course of the case.
In family law mediation, you always have the opportunity to go out and consult with your own advising attorney. You’re never going to be forced to make a decision in the mediation process. So there really is very little risk that you’re going to be the victim of a biased mediator.
And because mediation is completely voluntary, if you do believe, while you’re in the mediation process, that you are the victim of some bias or absence of neutrality, you can always pull out of the mediation. But I do not have any concerns that a qualified family law mediator is going to be anything other than neutral in the case.
John Harding is the principal of the law firm of Harding & Associates in Northern California. He practices family law litigation and divorce mediation exclusively.