By Anthony C. Adamopoulos
Are you in divorce litigation?
Are you having second thoughts – time standards, discovery cost, no trial in sight? Enough!
You have complained to your attorney and your attorney reports that your spouse’s attorney has heard the same complaints from your spouse. Your attorney suggests mediation or conciliation.
What is the difference between Divorce Mediation and Divorce Conciliation?
Mediation is an independent, voluntary, confidential process conducted by a mediator, who is neutral. The mediator will:
-Assist you and your spouse in identifying and discussing those issues keeping the two of you from settlement.
-Explore with you and your spouse various avenues to resolution.
-Develop a settlement acceptable to you and your spouse.
-The two of you will select the mediator. The mediator’s fees will be split between the two of you or paid as the two of you agree.
The major benefits to Mediation are:
-The mediation is private. There is no report to the Judge.
-The mediator will provide all the time you and your spouse need to work on a resolution.
Experienced mediators have settlement rates of between 85% and 97%.
-If the mediation is in the 3-15% that fail, you and your spouse may enter a written agreement (stipulation) stating that all that was agreed to in the mediation shall not be litigated at trial.
The major negatives to Mediation are:
-The Mediator is paid.
-If the mediation is in the 3-15% that fail, the parties will have to return to the litigation process for the unresolved issues.
-Since you are in litigation, you must get permission from the judge to “take a time out” for mediation. Your attorney will handle this.
Conciliation is a court related process in which a court appointed neutral (the Conciliator) assists parties to resolve their case by:
1. Clarifying the issues preventing a settlement; and then
2. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s arguments; and
3. If the divorce cannot be resolved, then the Conciliator explores the steps which remain to prepare the case for trial.
The Court usually allocates two hours for the Conciliation session. The Conciliator is not paid, but there is an administration fee, currently $50.00 per party.
The major benefits to Conciliation are:
-The trained Conciliator will assess your “side” and your spouse’s “side”. You will then be able to consider the assessment in planning your next step, e.g., trial or settlement.
-The Conciliator does not get paid.
The major negatives to Conciliation are:
-The Conciliation lasts a short time, contrasted to Divorce Mediation.
-The Conciliator may report her/his assessment to the Judge and any opinion as to whether someone is not acting in good faith.
What should you do?
Statistically, 97% of divorce litigation will settle within days of the trial. That means, even though you and your spouse each paid an enormous amount of money to get ready for trial, it may never happen (97% of the time).
The sensible thing is to avoid more costs now, stop the litigation, and settle your differences in mediation or arbitration.
Read the original blog here