For Better or Worse: A Quick Guide to Private Mediation - The Men's Legal Center


There are several meditation options available. Private Mediation is to have the parties try to resolve the family law issues early on in the process. The cost of paying a third-party neutral makes sense to expedite the narrowing of the issues. Often, proposing a global settlement upfront makes a lot of sense.

Now, there are two preconditions to optimizing private mediation: Both parties need to be emotionally ready to settle and move on with their lives; and each party needs to have worked up their case. The parties need to come to the negotiating table ready to resolve all issues. This means having a parenting plan for the children, their relative income and a clear understanding of the martial assets and debts to discuss.

You cannot settle your case if you do not thoroughly understand your position. In the example of a Paternity suit, you must have an idea of what the parenting plan or child sharing arrangement should be for you and your co-parent. You should be able to discuss how much child support should the non-custodial parent pay. What does it take to put a roof over the child’s head and food on the table? Should the parties split the extracurricular costs of the child, such as music lessons and soccer camp? A detailed workup is critical if you are seeking a global settlement AND the parties should strive for a global settlement to get out of the court system.

In divorce or paternity, much is at stake that — finances permitting, you should hire a professional to help you work through the issues thoroughly. The ideal scenario would be to choose a family law attorney who has some years under his/her belt. Retain this attorney with the goal of working up your case to go to a third-party neutral for a global settlement.

It helps to have your family law attorney write up a settlement proposal early on in the process. However, the other side may be reluctant to “deal,” if the proposal is “your” idea. A third-party neutral may be needed to “sell” your offer to the other side.

To settle a case, a Third-Party neutral needs to explain the likely outcome in court if the case proceeds through the court system and attorney fee cost.

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