In the flood of recent discussions about tort reform and the many areas in which our legal system needs changing, the word “mediation” was conspicuous by its absence. Mediation is an alternative to the traditional legal process which, without exception, takes too much time, costs too much money, and gets too little done. Problems with the traditional legal system have spawned a new wave of attorney “humor.” We tell jokes about attorneys, but when problems arise in our families or businesses, we hand them our lives, finances, and children. Make sense? No.
The failures of the traditional legal system are most evident in dealing with family issues. In response to this need, Chinn & Associates has a mediated divorce process which empowers clients to identify and settle the issues involved in divorce.
Mediation is a more efficient method of settling the difficult issues which arise during separation or divorce. A mediator is a neutral party who works to negotiate the issues related to the divorce process. The parties maintain control of what issues get settled first and the final terms of the agreement. Mediation is not just for couples who are divorcing. A mediator can help establish a temporary agreement for couples who are separated, but who have not made a final decision to terminate their marriage.
The Goals of the mediated divorce process are simple:
- To complete divorce in an ordered and controlled process, preferably in one day of mediation
- To avoid the cost and difficulty of litigation (court)
- To tailor settlements to the needs of the parties and their children
- To foster a constructive resolution of issues in ways which promote the family
- To conduct the divorce process in a way which promotes the interests and rights and healthy development of the children of divorce.
Mediation costs less than the traditional process, and the parties determine how long the process will take. With a mediator, there is no waiting on a court docket. A traditional divorce – in which the negotiation takes place between two adversarial lawyers – can cost the couple on average $27,000 or more. Mediation can settle the issues often for substantially less cost and a fraction of the time.
An attorney may be needed to finalize an agreement in court. However, with a mediated agreement, a party hands the attorney a specific job, instead of turning over his entire life to be picked apart in mounting billable hours. Every year, many couples finalize their own divorces without the assistance of an attorney. TheChinn & Associates mediated divorce process gives its clients the information to empower them to decide how involved an attorney needs to be in the process.
Mediation isn’t for every client, but it is well worth considering if some or all of these are true for you:
- You want a civilized, respectful resolution of the issues.
- You and your partner will be co-parenting children together and you want the best co-parenting relationship possible.
- You want to protect your children from the harm associated with litigated dispute resolution between parents.
- You and your partner have a circle of friends and extended family in common that you both want to remain connected to.
- You value privacy in your personal affairs and do not want details of your family life to be available in the public court record.
- You value control and autonomous decision making and do not want to hand over decisions about restructuring your financial and/or child-rearing arrangements to a stranger (i.e., a judge).
- You recognize the restricted range of outcomes and “rough justice” generally available in the public court system, and want a more creative and individualized range of choices available to you and your spouse for resolving your issues.
Perhaps you are thinking, “This is fine for couples who agree, but my divorce is going to be a war.” Mediation is not just for people who agree on everything. Mediation removes much of the adversarial red tape which escalates the hostility involved in divorce. Mediation provides an even playing field for two parties to present their positions and maintain control of the outcome of the “war,” instead of letting attorneys and judges control the results of the fight. And if you can have the same fight for one-forth the cost in time and money, doesn’t it make sense?
We are among the best mediation attorneys in the Jackson, MS area. Give us a call to discuss your situation and see how we can assist you.