Whenever you’re faced with a family dispute, it can be a painful time. A mediator can help families talk through their disputes and find acceptable agreements for all of the parties involved. Just as every family is unique, every case brought to mediation is unique and requires an approach that is understanding and empathetic of everyone’s needs.
At Willamette Family Law, we see our job as working alongside families to reach an agreement that all parties find reasonable and in their best interests. We believe that through alternative dispute resolution services like mediation, the best solutions can arise from difficult situations.
There are a number of reasons why people choose mediation over a court proceeding. When you go to court, you are putting your personal decisions in the hands of a judge who does not know you or your family. Often times, the battle becomes a bitter “all or nothing” struggle that tarnishes what is left of your family relationships.
Mediation can help you get past any roadblocks in your dispute in a way that keeps control of the resolution firmly in your hands. The mediator is there to help parties decide what the important issues are, explore misunderstandings and search for solutions. Through mediation, parties openly discuss issues, listen to one another and explore ideas for compromise. Mediation can protect relationships, restore trust and allow you to work one more time as partners.
It can also save you money. Court proceedings can drag on for a long time, and the longer they go, the more they cost. Mediation costs less than a trial and is often much briefer.
What to Expect from Mediation
Depending on the facts of the dispute, typically 3-5 confidential mediated sessions are held at our office. The first meeting and/or consultation will explore if mediation is appropriate for you and your family. At this meeting, parties provide background information and key issues are discussed. In divorce mediation, the parties always address child-related issues first, followed by assets and liabilities and then support needs.
Following each session, parties will receive an e-mail summarizing all agreements at that session and a next steps list detailing what documentation and/or tasks need to be completed before the next session. After several sessions, parties are usually able to find common ground on all of the issues and are ready to proceed with filing their documents.
Once an agreement has been reached, your mediator will draft and e-mail you copies of the documentation. Parties are asked to review all documents with a lawyer, if possible, and provide edits to your mediator in an e-mail . Your mediator will incorporate the edits and send the parties a revised version for a final review. At this stage, the parties will come to our office or e-sign the documents and your mediator will file them with the court on your behalf. Once the court signs the Judgment, you will receive notice in the mail and your mediator will notify you via e-mail.
Each case is vastly different, from beginning to end some mediated divorces may be accomplished in as little as 6 weeks, while others may take much longer. For more detailed information on the mediation process, court filings or post-judgment issues please call our office at 503-542-7432.