-Did you feel honored and respected throughout the legal process?
-Do you believe the legal process helped you establish a “working relationship” with your ex for the years ahead?
-Did you feel you were a participant in your divorce process or did you feel more like an observer hoping for a favorable outcome?
-Do you feel your legal representation was a “good value” and good return on your investment of time, trust and money?
Usually, with few exceptions the answers to those four questions are No, No, Observer and No.
Our current legal system in the United States is predicated on a Win-Lose scenario. If one party “wins” or benefits than the other party must “lose” or give up something. The legal system has very specific criteria and systems when couples determine they want to terminate their marriage. When you hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce case you are hiring that attorney to represent and protect your interests, period. Attorneys do exactly what you have agreed to pay them to do; protect your financial and child custody/parenting interests utilizing the law and strategies to your advantage. Attorneys are often blamed and cited as out of control, running up their billings, creating additional tension and frankly not always seeing the larger view. I will defend attorneys on this point as they are doing exactly what clients ask them to do, and clients begrudgingly pay their attorneys very well to do it!
So, why would you choose mediation? Mediation focuses on the best possible outcome for everyone involved and asks how we can determine a settlement that is fair as it can be to everyone involved, especially when children are involved.
Mediation is very different from the traditional legal process. Mediation is not focused on who “wins and who “loses”. The formal definition of mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that aims to assist disputants in reaching an agreement. Mediation, in real life, is your chance to actively participate and fashion an outcome you truly agree with and support instead of just accepting another party's decision for you.
Mediation provides a setting to both accept and acknowledge the past and also to start fresh in creating a new and more positive future. The parties in mediation craft that outcome and plan through commonality and cooperation. Clients work together with the neutral mediator to come to a fair and workable agreement. Each party represents their own interests while the mediator represents the process and the final agreement. The mediator listens for agreement and commonalities and builds on each success. The mediator is always working toward a fair settlement both parties agree to.
Sheila-Marie Untiedt A qualified neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice, Sheila-Marie Untied is a mediator helping individuals to resolve conflicts in the areas of divorce, child custody, family conflict, workplace conflict, and business conflict. www.CleanSlateMediation.net
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