Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution whereby parties attempt to resolve their differences, with the assistance of a neutral educator/facilitator, without going to court, allowing people to privately settle disputes they are unable to resolve on their own. The mediator is an active participant in the discussions and attempts to structure a resolution with both parties. Mediation is normally the most appropriate method to resolve divorce, child custody, paternity and other types of delicate family law matters, including the negotiation of prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements. The benefits of mediation include greater privacy, a less adversarial process and, typically, much lower costs and the constant availability of a neutral and supportive guide. Typically, the goal for separating couples in mediation is the negotiation of a marital settlement agreement, commonly referred to as an "MSA". This is an agreement entered into by couples upon divorce and contains provisions resolving the divorcing couple’s property issues, parenting schedules, support amounts and any other topic affecting the couples’ rights after the marriage. As a general rule, mediation communications are strictly confidential, cannot be obtained by discovery and cannot be admitted as evidence in court. Because mediation confidentiality facilitates open and candid discussions, mediation typically increases the likelihood of successful settlement negotiations for a broad array of litigants, often helping to resolve even the most contentious cases by agreement. David Sutton’s 25 years of experience allows him to settle approximately 95% of the cases that he mediates. Mediators are required to be neutral. They cannot favor one party over another as the mediator always works for both parties.
Benefits of Mediation
1) Settlements can be negotiated more quickly, privately and inexpensively.
2) Studies demonstrate that parties are generally more satisfied with solutions that have been mutually agreed upon, as opposed to solutions that are imposed by a third party decision-maker, such as a judge. Furthermore, they indicate that parties who have reached their own agreement in mediation are also generally more likely to follow through and comply with its terms than those whose resolution has been imposed by a third party decision-maker.
3) Mediated settlements are able to address both legal and extra-legal issues, such as co-parenting and more nuanced and complex. Mediated agreements often cover procedural and psychological issues that are not necessarily susceptible to legal determination. Mediated settlements can be hand-tailored to the particular needs and circumstances of each family.
4) Parties who negotiate their own settlements in a mediation process, generally, have more control over the outcome of their dispute and are less subject to the arbitrariness a litigated court process.
5) Many disputes occur in the context of relationships that will continue over future years. A mediated settlement that addresses all parties' interests can often preserve a working relationship in ways that would not be possible in a win/lose decision-making procedure. Mediation can also make the termination of a relationship more amicable.
6) Workable and Implementable Decisions
Parties who mediate their differences are able to attend to the fine details of implementation. mediated agreements can include specially tailored procedures for how the decisions will be carried out. This fact often enhances the likelihood that parties will actually comply with the terms of the settlement.
7) Agreements that are Better than Simple Compromises or Win/Lose Outcomes
8) Decisions that Hold Up Over Time
Mediated settlements tend to hold up over time, and if a later dispute results, the parties are more likely to utilize a cooperative forum of problem-solving to resolve their differences than to pursue an adversarial approach.