These are the first words I utter whenever someone I know, or have met, says they are going to be suing someone. And yes, the Ohio divorce process is one party suing another. However, the divorce mediation process is different – it is two parties making an agreement. If you are contemplating suing anyone for anything, consider mediation.
There are many advantages to mediation, few drawbacks and no reason not to give it a try. The worst that happens is that you have spent some money and some time, but in exchange you do get some information from the other side which can be helpful if you decide to proceed to the court house.
This is not to say you should use mediation as a tool for discovery, but instead, consider it an opportunity to organize yourself, prepare for battle and hope to reach a settlement which is fair and one you can live with.
Mediation has increased in popularity as the costs of litigation have skyrocketed. Mediation is an alternative method of dispute resolution which encourages direct communication between the disputing parties. Proponents of the mediation process believe that these structured communications can result in a long lasting effective agreement because they are borne of the parties’ voluntary efforts and not those of their attorneys.
Mediation is also a process that is much faster than the court system. This is partly due to the over burdened court calendar and also due to the popularity of litigation, finding the most effective and prevailing attorneys often unavailable. A typical mediation takes approximately seven hours to complete. It is therefore both cost effective and time sensitive.
Mediation often results in a preservation of relationships. It is not adversarial, not confrontational, and often times find the parties able to compromise. By its nature, the parties are forced to communicate, if not directly with each other, then through the mediator.
Oftentimes, the parties have learned something about each other, have focused on the underlying cause of the dispute and willingly reach agreement.
Mediation allows you to have control over your litigation. This is tremendously important. One never knows if the judge has had a prior experience with someone you remind them about. Perhaps you were that girlfriend who jilted him in the 10th grade, or the guy on the field who unfairly tagged him out. Or you might have been the guy who broke her heart or the girl who stole the love of her life.
Everyone has a history, walking into a court room risks the judge’s opening up your past and having it become your present and future. A very well known family law attorney is quoted as saying “try to avoid the person in the black robe at all costs. You never know what that person will do with your case”.
Believe it or not, the most exasperating word a family law attorney can hear is MEDIATION.
Why? Because once most, not all, attorneys who practice primarily litigation involving dissolution of marriage and child support and custody issues get a case, they view them as a continuing stipend.
The more court hearings they can force, the more money they can make. The more assets they can convince their client they are entitled to, whether true or not, the more conflict and angst they can conjure up and the more money they can ensure themselves during the long drawn out fight that accompanies the litigation fiasco.
I have seen literally dozens and dozens of cases end in mindless and needless court battles, because the attorneys have created issues out of whole cloth. Any of these would have been better served through mediation in California.
They have stirred the pot, like witches brew. Is their interest what is best for their client, or what is best for them? I am sorry to say, that in so many cases, my colleagues put their interests, ahead of their clients.
Because of this pretense marital cases can cost the husband and wife thousands of dollars. I was personally involved in one marital dispute in which the wife was represented by one of the top boutique marital dissolution law firms in Beverly Hills.
There was a large corporation involved, which I represented, and the husband was represented by a two person well known law firm. The wife’s law firm had two partners and several associates sitting around a conference table during the rented judge trial while the husband had one.
The wife’s attorneys’ had her believing she could get ½ of the corporation and run it, when she had never stepped foot in it and her husband had been running it for years extremely successfully and with an independent board of directors. Telling her she would get to run the business and that her husband would do everything to steal money and keep her from getting anything was an abominable lie meant to exacerbate her already vicious feelings about her husband, with the only reason being the lining of the law firm’s pockets.
So how do you avoid these tremendous fees and bad outcomes?
You seek good mediators who have no skin in the game and who only care about doing one thing. That one thing is seeing to it that the parties reach a resolution of their case at the least possible cost, both financially and emotionally.
As mediators we help guide you through the process of developing your own resolution of divorce mediation or any mediation settlement. By being the master of your own destiny you own the process and decisions as opposed to attorneys and a judge.
When you own the decision you feel better about yourself and, in many cases, your spouse or other party with whom you may be locked in conflict. This helps to take much of the emotion out of the mediation which is especially important when dealing with issues involving children insofar as you and your spouse may have years of co-parenting children well under the age of eighteen and continuing your relationship with your children’s families.
Many times women feel more comfortable with a female mediator and men with a male mediator. This is why we have developed the concept of cross gender mediation.
To avoid this preference issue, both a man and woman are offered to facilitate these cases at the cost of the usual single mediator. This company has as its major goal, keeping people who are at their most vulnerable condition, focused on their children first, if there are any, and their assets and liabilities as opposed to the unconstructive feelings that have lead them to this stage of their marriage, and to do so at a cost that will not deplete the parties bank accounts.
If you are facing a situation where you foresee ‘black robes’ in your future, call today and let us help you settle your issues in confidential mediation – rather than as a matter of public record in the open court room. We specialize in divorce mediation in Ohio and we can help!