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Communication can be difficult at best and is the most common reason for arguments. A good formula for success is to make sure everyone is clear on the 1) Who will be responsible? 2) What is supposed to happen? 3) When should it be completed? 4) How will it be accomplished?
It never hurts to jot down the responsibilities regardless of who you are talking with, your spouse, children or business associate. Avoid misunderstandings with just a few steps.
|What is MEDIATION?
Mediation is a quick, inexpensive, fair and effective way to resolve conflict without costly legal proceedings. It is a confidential and private problem-solving process in which the parties use a trained, neutral mediator to help them reach agreement. Mediation is a self-empowering process that emphasizes the participants’ responsibility for making decisions that affect them.
Mediation helps to provide a real alternative, assists the couple mutually to derive a personalized solution to the various decisions that must be made, and often shortens the amount of time needed to come to resolutions. It can reduce costs, emotional distress, and provide more privacy.
What disputes can be MEDIATED?
Business, partnerships, workplace, divorce (including the division of assets and debts), custody/visitation, parenting plans, parent/child conflicts, spousal and child support, grandparent visitation, domestic partnership disputes, prenuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, and elder care issues. Parties are more satisfied when they are involved in the solutions.
When the parties have not been able to successfully mediate all of their issues, the private trial may be the perfect next step. Litigants may stipulate to a private judge from the Short Trial Judge list; all terms of the private trial such as the judges compensation, the place and time of trial, discovery parameters and other agreed upon terms are set forth in the Stipulation and Order. After the trial the private judge renders findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment which the sitting judge signs off on. This is a final judgment which is appealable. The benefit of the alternate (private) trial is the the parties may immediate set a trial date rather than wait months if not years for a trial setting with the sitting judge. They can have their trial days in consecutive days, at their convenience, in a private setting, rather than at the convenience of the court. The litigants maintain control over the process which is often seen as extremely beneficial. It should be noted that the term private is somewhat of a misnomer. The trials are open to the public unless subject to closure by statute or rule.
Gayle Nathan has been an attorney since 1988. Her experience as a district court judge in the Family Court (2011-2014) uniquely qualifies her to sit as a private judge.
There is no doubt that ending a relationship is difficult. What happens to your children is the most heart breaking as they are confused and torn between their love of both parents and how to adjust to a new lifestyle. Just as you made choices in deciding to end your relationship you are now faced with choices about your children, your stuff and your pets.
Our system of using courts to make decisions for our families creates an adversarial process that can be expensive and emotionally destructive. While using the courts is beneficial for some it is not the right for everyone and you have choices in how to deal with the process. Mediation can help you work through the issues as you work together to make decisions that are best for your family. Mediation provides a process that is less expensive and without the delays experienced in the court system.
Joanna Wares is an experienced mediator who works to resolve disputes.