Resolving Issues with Less Conflict
In a mediated divorce, the parties get together with onr trained neutral mediator who will help them work through their issues and reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Maralee can facilitate the mediation process in your choice of two ways, as the mediator, or as a consulting attorney to someone going through mediation.
Maralee is a certified and trained family law mediator well able to serve in that role. As mediator, she meets with both parties and tries to broker an agreement. (The parties should consult with another attorney of their choice so they know what their rights and obligations are). Maralee must remain neutral, not favoring one party over another. She cannot give legal advice, but can tell them together what the rules are. She can help them negotiate, and suggest ways to settle things that maybe hadn’t occurred to them. If you want to engage in mediation, Maralee has a long record of resolving matters.
If you are going through or considering mediation, you should consult with an attorney before starting the process. As a consulting attorney in mediation, Maralee will prepare you for the process by making sure you fully understand your rights and obligations, and suggesting ways you could settle certain issues. She can also write up the final agreement resulting from the mediation if the mediator doesn’t do that.
Call (530) 272-5672 or visit our contact page to begin.
Mediation, Collaboration, Litigation—What’s the Difference?
Mediation and collaborative divorce are both processes designed to help the parties work out their differences in a less contentious manner. In addition to being more focused on resolving problems, they tend to be less expensive options. Let’s take a look at each type.
A traditional litigated divorce is inherently adversarial, typically time-consuming, and potentially quite costly. Still, a traditional divorce may be the best option if:
- Someone may be hiding income or assets from the other party
- There is a great power imbalance in the relationship, with one party dominating the other
- There is any sort of domestic violence or abuse, including emotional abuse
- There are addiction issues with one or both parties
- Parties are not mature enough to work together, or are just unwilling
Mediation involves working through your issues with the other party with the assistance of the mediator. The mediator can help you negotiate and find ways to resolve the issues, and has no power to settle any dispute that the parties cannot decide on. Parties do not have attorneys with them during the mediation, and indeed are not required to involve attorneys at all, though they are strongly encouraged to consult one. This lack of having your own attorney at the meetings may make it uncomfortable for some people.
Mediation is more flexible than collaborative divorce in several ways. Only three people—the parties and the mediator—are needed, though additional experts may be brought in, making scheduling simpler. The parties can determine the procedures they will follow, rather than having to adhere to the regulations of the Court process or the protocols and restrictions collaborative divorce has.
If the mediation doesn’t work, you may have to start over, and you will be out the cost of the mediation. You may be able to switch to a collaborative divorce process or a traditional approach. In that case, if your consulting attorney does not handle litigation, you will have to find another attorney to proceed. The mediator will not be able to represent you or your spouse.
In collaborative divorce, both parties work with their attorneys and possibly other team members to work toward an agreement resolving your issues. The attorneys work in their clients’ interest, but still try to seek out compromises and mutually acceptable solutions. There is no neutral person overseeing the procedure, so everyone has to work for the common goal.
Collaborative divorce may be a better option for reaching a mutual agreement than mediation if you prefer to have an attorney assisting you with the negotiations or always available to confer with.
If you tend to have trouble asserting yourself when dealing with the other party, the collaborative process may work better. On the other hand, if you tend to have trouble restraining your feelings, your attorney can help you communicate more effectively and stay on track for your goals.
Collaborative divorce has specific commitments required by the participants, and definite protocols that must be followed, so it may not be as flexible as mediation. The biggest downside is that if the parties fail to reach an agreement, the attorneys and other team members must withdraw, and the parties have to begin again with other attorneys and possibly other professionals. That can cause a lot of expense and delay.
Contact Nelder Family Law for a consultation to help you decide the best way to proceed. Call (530) 272-5672 or view our contact page for other ways to get in touch.