When should parents begin the mediation process in divorce? Some family law courts across the country require most parents to mediate to PRIOR to walking into a courtroom to ask for immediate relief. Many family law attorneys dislike this approach because their clients simply are not ready to mediate.
From a lawyers’ perspective, its hard to mediate a case when you have not done discovery, obtained expert opinions. Lawyer’s may have a hard time mediating the case because they want to see how the court is going to rule.
So why would court’s place such an unfair condition on going to mediation BEFORE walking into a court? Well many times the requirement seems to created out of necessity. One family law judge can not handle 100 cases on its docket on a daily basis. Many of these courts simply need a way to filter and limit the volume of cases that it hears.
So what is the outcome of mediation PRIOR to civil litigation? Parents begin filter through what is and what is not a contested issue. Parents begin to look for solutions through their problem. Parents see the mediator as that one person who is willing to listen and come up with a fair solution to their problem. Parents find themselves communicating with their child’s other parent looking for ways to resolve their problems.
So if one mediation is good, why not make it two? Parents who begin the process at the mediators office could simply schedule a second mediation AFTER the lawyer’s finish their pretrial preparations. Adding a kids centered programs in between would be beneficial in focusing the parents on minimizing their conflict.
Using collaborative techniques in a civil litigation environment will go a long way in helping divorcing parents. Family law attorneys who follow this approach will find themselves MORE involved in working with their family law client, not less.