What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary settlement process in which an impartial person who is trained in dispute resolution meets with the parties to discuss the issues they wish to resolve. The mediator will facilitate the negotiation of those issues, with the goal of helping the parties reach a settlement. Participation is voluntary, and any agreement reached by the parties must be entered into voluntarily; the mediator has no power to impose a settlement. The process is ordinarily confidential, depending on laws in the location where the mediation takes place.
There are several reasons: (a) it is less adversarial than going to court; (b) it’s more private (c) you retain control of the process – i.e., you are not bound by what the mediator thinks (indeed, most mediators see their role as helping the parties effectuate their goals, not imposing the mediator’s ideas); (d) it’s usually much less expensive; (e) if there are children involved, the process is less likely to embroil them in a painful conflict; and (f) mediation often gives divorcing couples a better chance of successfully negotiating issues that may come up in the future (such as child support, alimony, or custody and visitation issues).
What is the downside?
It is a lot of work, but then again so is going to court. If mediation is unsuccessful in bringing about an amicable settlement, one could view the expense as a waste of money. It is usually a worth- while investment because divorce mediation almost always leads to a settlement. Even when it doesn’t, it often results in focusing the issues in a case in a useful way, so that one or two narrow issues can be presented to the court, which can then provide the parties with specific guidance on those issues.
Thomas J. Taranto, ESQ.
Attorney Taranto is a trained, certified Family Law Mediator having met all the requirements by the Supreme Judicial Court’s Uniform Rules on Dispute Resolution, and a Member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation.
He also received additional specialized training as a Conciliator for the Essex County Bar Association where he is often appointed by Judges to assist litigants and their Attorneys settle their cases, with a high degree of success, resulting in settlement of 95% of his cases.
Please feel free to contact his office if you have questions or need additional information regarding the process.
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