Parents who litigate discover that the delays and hidden costs of the justice system have placed it out of reach to many parents, and litigation leaves behind significant emotional costs as well. Mediation is a quick way to arrive at a negotiated solution. A solution that could have happened at the beginning of a process rather than at the end of painful litigation.
There are two important characteristics of mediation that are designed to remove risk, and to favor a successful outcome.
- The process is confidential in that anything said during the mediation is confined to the parties. This allows a party to explore potential solutions with the mediator in a risk-free environment.
- The process is characterised by without prejudice discussions. This means if settlement is not achieved any comments, offers or suggestions made by parties during the mediation are not binding on them and cannot be used or referred to in any subsequent court proceedings, should the mediation fail.
The features of mediation are designed to create the best possible environment for the parents to reach the best possible parenting plan. If the mediation fails to produce an agreement, the parties are free to pursue their rights via the legal process.
In a private, non-judgmental, supportive atmosphere the parents explore a range of options and potential solutions to the issues. The mediator facilitates an exchange whereby common ground is expanded sufficiently to form solutions. A settlement agreement or parenting plan is drafted. The parties emerge with a self-generated solution that meets their needs, interests and concerns and maintains their self-esteem.
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