Archives : Mediation

  • Mediation versus Lawsuit: A Case of Custody

    Divorce is never an easy matter and things can turn ugly during the settlement of disputes. This is worsened with the involvement of children, leading to long and tiring custody battles in the courtroom by the involved parties. Thus, it is perhaps beneficial that clients considered the alternative of consulting with a divorce mediator, which could settle grievances in a more tactful manner. A few main factors may be assessed towards making the best decision.

    In the case of a divorce lawsuit, each party is represented by their own lawyer who defends the client and makes negotiations for the termination of a marriage. Litigation is presented in front of a judge in the family court of law if the lawyers do not come to a peaceable agreement. Through this arrangement, the final decision lies in the hands of the judging official. Although different states and countries may have contrasting steps in their lawful practices, the procedure is essentially similar. These cases may last up to 3 years.

    The biggest issue with the divorce approach is that there might be a lack of fairness in the ensuing decision that may be detrimental to one party and any children involved. In other words, the better case based on the merit and standing of the client will overrule equality.
    Alternatively, with a divorce mediator, both parties iron out details with an impartial third-party (mediator) through a collaborative settlement of divorce away from the court. Mediation offers fewer complications and professional mediators are trained to offer a decision that is ideal for both parties and any children who might be involved, balancing financial matters out in the most justified manner. Mediations may be settled within 6 months through several sessions.

    Ultimately, the couple has full arbitration over the outcome and the mediator is the authority who legalizes the divorce based on their decisions.

    The issue with mediation is that couples must amicably agree to the terms set out by the mediator for the process to work out.
    The final decision lies in the motive of the involved parties, do they value the needs of their children over their own personal sentiments and fulfillment?

  • Reasons for Choosing Child Mediation

    When things are not going so well between a married couple, they should start thinking about the welfare of their children. Separation of the parents usually results in having to make choices. These include the often confusing process of where the children should stay. To avoid the stressful and traumatizing court hearings that could settle the matter, many parents resort to child mediation. Below are some of the reasons why disagreeing parents choose child mediation:

     Divorce is filled with conflict. It can leave a negative effect on  children who see their parents go through the process. As the fight goes on, the children are often caught in the middle. Through child mediation, the situation becomes a lot easier for the children because here, the parents cooperate in deciding what’s best for their kids.

    There is no one to blame in child mediation. When parents always argue and blame each other, they become ineffective in caring for their children. In child mediation, there is a child mediator, who looks out for the welfare of the children. Through the mediator, the parents eventually agree on a parenting plan for their children. Whatever the result may be, no one blames each other because the decision is made by both parents.

    Child mediation is classified as non-adversarial. Mediation for child custody is a collaboration that aims for what’s best for the children. This process is unlike the process of divorce, which is usually a fight between the couple. Child mediation concentrates on what is best for the kids. This process intends to come up with a good parenting plan enabling both parents to be present in the lives of their children. If things do not go smoothly, everyone must go to court.

    Child Mediation reduces conflict and stress. Stress is terrible when the conflicts heighten during a divorce. It usually leads to lack of concentration, diminished patience, and inadequate sleep. Child mediation lowers the stress by making the parents forget their conflicts whenever they work on the parenting plan for their children. This prepares a brighter future for the children.
    Every disagreeing married couple should stop and look at their children first. Through child mediation, both parents can make sure that their children won’t suffer even if their marriage ends.

  • How Do You Prepare Yourself for Mediation

    “Assisted negotiations” is another term for mediation. This doesn’t give anyone much orientation about how to prepare for it and what to expect. Mediation is a process and the principles below can guide you toward the satisfying resolution of your dispute:

    1. Make certain that the representative and the party are completely informed, have the right to resolve the issue, and present during the mediation. If parties cannot attend, teleconferencing and video-conferencing can be utilized. Even so, it is always best to be present physically at the venue.
    2. Always be prepared for anything. There will always be new developments and information about the dispute’s resolution. Be open to them. View them as a means to eliminate or decrease the issues.
    3. Be aware of the tactics. Take note that mediation does not go well if litigation tactics are applied in it. Think about your reaction to your plan. See if it is in your best interests, possibly offensive, or necessary.
    4. Learn to listen. This allows you to focus on the problem at hand. Do not get distracted by the people associated with the dispute.
    5. Prepare your mind for your mediation. Speculate what you must do in “what if” situations. Spend some time reflecting on your approach and how you should discuss it.
    6. Be careful of how you act or speak. You should present your better version and how you present yourself. This invites a more productive conversation.
    7. Use your imagination. If you do this, you can turn crises into productive situations.
    8. Understand and review your strategies and preferred mediation methods. Also, know your goal and the results you want to get.
    9. Never underestimate the instructing party. Mediation is easier if everyone participates as a team.
    10. Make sure your mediation materials are in order, complete, compelling, and most of all, delivered ahead of time to allow every participant to absorb their content. Also, be prepared to explain and clarify your own materials.

    Mediation can be stressful and disheartening if you do not know how to handle the situation well. Resolving disputes is never a pleasant thing. Take the time to think about your every step so that you can get through the mediation smoothly.

  • Mediation and Child Custody Cases

    Separation and divorce often result in an argument over the children. Custody issues are usually very difficult to deal with. It is too challenging to reach a decision when it comes to where the child should live, and which parent should exert effort in visiting the child. That is why many parents resort to working with a seasoned law mediator for such situations. Mediation Defined Child custody, support, and property division are some of the divorce-related issues that mediation helps settle. A third party, called the mediator, helps spouses resolve their disagreements during the divorce.

    Experienced attorneys who practice family law are those who become divorce mediators. They are the lawyers who have completed their specialized mediation training. They do not make decisions like the arbitrator or the judge. They merely help couples reach an agreement.

    Child Custody Mediation: Preparation Stage Below are some things to consider before you start the mediation:

    • Get some legal advice from an experienced lawyer. It is always best to be armed with the knowledge of your responsibilities and rights before you enter mediation.

    • List down the daily routine and schedules for your child and yourself.

    • Prepare your proposal for visitation and custody. Consider birthdays and holidays. Prepare details about transportation and exchange of locations for picking up and dropping off the child.

    • Compile all necessary records including letters from the child therapist, medical records, and report cards. Steps in Mediation Here are the common steps in the mediation process:

    • Set a meeting with the mediator

    • Point out and classify the challenged issues

    • Have an open mind as you discuss the solutions

    • Draft, finalize, and sign the final custody agreement.

    Remember that there are several factors in setting an amount of time you should spend on mediation. The willingness of the parents to reach an agreement is also a factor to consider. Mediation for child custody is not the venue to fight about the relationship’s errors. The mediation concentrates on the child’s future and the child’s best interests.

  • Essentials of Having a Family Mediator

    Disputes are not an easy to face and the best outcome is usually by family mediation. There are some that merely require a neutral friend or relative to resolve, but other disputes are more complicated. For far more complex issues, a professional mediator should intervene. These involve two people, but they may include other family members.

    One of the most common disputes is child custody. During disputes, conferences involve the meeting of the entire family. When mediation fails to settle the dispute, the parties must go to court, where a judge will make the necessary decisions. The court process is stressful, expensive, and long. Family mediation aims to prevent the problem from reaching the court.

    Separated families are encouraged to agree on terms in caring for their child or children without going through the court process.  When things are beyond simple discussions, a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) steps in. Dividing properties and the children is never a pleasant step in resolving conflicts, but the separated family needs it for peace among its members.

    The Steps

    If only one party agrees, the mediation cannot push through. Once the parties agree to participate in family mediation, the process begins. Here are the steps:

    Individual Contact 

    The family mediator contacts the parties and arranges an individual meeting. The initial meeting enables the mediator to see each party’s level of readiness for the mediation. The mediator takes this opportunity to understand the issues and expound on the process of mediation.

    Joint Meeting

    Once the family mediator accomplishes the individual meetings, a joint meeting happens. Here, the parties will review a Contract for Family Mediation Services and sign it. After this, they all start discussing the issues they identified.

    Both Parties Contribute. During the mediation process, the parties work with the family mediator to deal with the following:

    • Explanation of the family’s situation.
    • Setting the mediation agenda. Each mediation session is designed based on what you prefer and what you must talk about.
    • Finding out the issues that you must talk about.
    • Prioritization of the given issues.
    • Setting the time scales for various matters.
    • Clarification of the issues to avoid any misunderstanding.
    • Finding out common ground.
    • Obtain and provide all the information that you need.
    • Consideration of all options available, especially when it comes to finances.
    • Arrival at the best option that best suits both parties. This includes working out the proposal details.

    By the time the family mediation ends, the family mediator will break down the steps in obtaining legal advice about the proposals both parties have come up. The mediator will also discuss how the parties can convert the proposals into a legal agreement or even a court order. Usually, proposals that concern finances are the ones that need a court order. When they concern children, they just need to be converted into legal agreements.

    Remember that the future of your children depends on how successful the family mediation is. Talk to your chosen family mediator and ask as many questions as you can. This way, you won’t go through the process unprepared.

  • Benefits of Family Mediation

    The most difficult conflicts usually come from the basic unit of society—the family. Since family matters most, it is important to resolve the issues within it immediately. Family mediation in Buffalo is considered one of the most common and effective ways for finding the best resolution. It arms the parties with the necessary tools for reaching an agreement that will benefit everyone concerned.

    When simple talks are not enough to resolve an issue between separated couples, Buffalo  family mediation steps in. A third party, known as the family mediator, helps the parties resolve their issues and settle their dispute. Though difficult, working together is essential to make family mediation work. The parties should cooperate while maintaining their sense of responsibility and self-control. After all, their children’s future and their peace of mind are at stake. Here are some of the known benefits of family mediation:

    •  It can start as soon as the couple announces their separation. Couples who are having trouble with their marriage can start their family mediation process just after they announce their separation.
    •  It usually results in an amicable separation. Through family mediation, the children and the assets are the focus. The couple decides who will have access to and who will have custody of the children. Family mediation also helps the couple divide the assets properly.
    • It provides a window for getting back together. A family mediator can help the couple reconcile if there is a chance for them to do so. Once the couple refuses to make up, the family mediator helps the parties reach an amicable separation. An amicable separation via family mediation is less stressful than a separation before a presiding judge.
    • It keeps any conversation that took place during the mediation is kept confidential. If the couple decides to undergo a painstaking separation or divorce, the court cannot summon the mediator as a witness. The couple can be confident that the court will respect the privacy of the mediation process.
    • It is non-adversarial. Though the couple wants to part ways as adversaries, family mediation still aims to reach a solution that is acceptable to both.
    • It open doors to a comfortable and safe environment. Both parties and their children can speak without the risk of being reprimanded or triggering an argument.
    • It encourages good co-parenting. The mutual decisions made by the parents during mediation save the children from any more emotional trauma and bitterness brought about by the separation.

    Family mediation in Buffalo is an important process that facilitates effective problem-solving and communication between the two parties concerned. It also helps the couple reach agreements that benefit both sides and their children. Choose your Buffalo family mediator well, so that you could go through the mediation process with confidence, and reap its benefits.

  • A Mediator to Solve the Issues

    If either partner in a divorce is fighting over custody of a child or parenting decisions, try a mediator. While most people have heard of a mediator, they may not be quite sure what they do or how to use them. A professional mediator is basically a neutral third party that will help the two parents discuss any issues at hand and make a decision.

    The mediator’s role is to get the discussion started by identifying the problems and then guiding the conversation. However, once a decision is made, a mediator is unable to give legal advice.

    If this is needed or a decision cannot be reached, it will then be up to the family court in their area to make the decision. On the other hand, if the two parents are able to come to a decision, a mediator can be a much more financially sound way of discussing the issues at hand. Of course, there are a few other reasons why a mediator may be preferred over the court. By settling something out of court, the parents have greater control over the parenting decisions that are made.

    If they can come to an agreement instead of having a judge make the decision, it will allow them to come up with their own terms and present them to the court for approval. This typically makes it a more satisfying environment for everyone involved and that is an important aspect of any case like this.

    When one party feels that they are not being heard, they are less likely to hold up their end of the bargain. That is one of the more frustrating things about going to court, the parents don’t have a lot of control over the outcome.

    An additional plus is that everything settled during a mediation is fully confidential. No one involved can discuss the issues raised with anybody else. Before going to court where children are involved, the divorcing parents should consider talking to a mediator in their area.

  • Someone to Mediate

    If you’re going through a difficult divorce or just trying to make sure that you get your fair share when you leave the marriage, it can sometimes be a little tricky. With so many of the dockets completely full, it can take some time to get your case heard in court. There is however an alternative available, try using a mediator. The mediators job is to hear all sides of the argument and creatively come up with alternatives so that everybody gets their fair share. There are somethings that you should know about mediation. For instance, a mediator is not a judge, he’s not there to make a judgment, his job is solely to listen to everybody’s case and come up with a solution that works for all parties involved. Sometimes they do have to be creative with the process, but a good mediator can also be a great asset.

    Also, any information the mediator is given is considered to be confidential. They are not allowed to discuss this with others and if for some reason the mediation fails, any statement that was made cannot be used at trial. The mediator can’t be compelled to testify for either side. Also, when a mediation settlement is reached, it is binding. Therefore, both parties should fully understand and agree that what they mediate is what they want. Especially if the decision involves children, parenting time or division of assets.

    The mediator will typically divide everyone up into separate rooms, so he can hear every part of the case separately. This allows him to hear everyone’s concerns one at a time. While, many cases do wind up in court, it is not the only option. If you are having problems getting your case heard, try to mediate and see if you can come to an agreement. Going through a divorce or custody hearing is difficult enough without adding more stress to the situation.

  • Preparing for Child Mediation

    Child custody has always been a sensitive matter for parents and children. The couple often discusses it when the pressures, conflicts, and emotions are very high. Parents and children usually become very overwhelmed by the idea of not living together anymore. Child mediation is the best solution to come up with a parenting plan for the children’s future. If you are considering child mediation, the following are some tips to help you prepare for this process:

    • Make a list of your concerns. Start preparing by writing down all the matters you would like to talk about during the mediation process. Also think about how you would like to resolve these issues. By making a list, you organize your thoughts. This enables you to cooperate and negotiate with a clear head.

    • Gather enough evidence. If you fear for your children’s safety or worry about their well-being, gather documents that can support your claims. More evidence can shorten the discussion.

    • Get the sample custody schedules and agreements ready. Before the mediation starts, you should know what you really want from the process. Do you want a joint custody plan, or do you want the kids to stay with you more? Create a sample plan that includes the days and times the kids will stay with you and with their other parent. Consider the kids’ school schedules, holidays, functions, and vacations. Understand that the sample schedule you prepare will still change because of the compromises you must make.

    • Stay calm about the process. Disagreements and confrontations are expected to happen during the mediation process. The have a successful child mediation, you should remain calm. This is the only way you and the other parent could come up with a final parenting plan that benefits everyone. Practice breathing exercises. Though it can be very frustrating, do your best not to lose your temper. Just be willing to make compromises and keep your mind open.

    • Talk to your lawyer. Tell your lawyer about your child mediation plan. Even if your lawyer cannot come with you during the mediation process, he or she will be able to come up with a good strategy.

    Child mediation can be grueling for the parents and the children. Make it while remaining collected. Always keep your children’s well-being in mind and by the end of the process, everything will be OK.

  • Mediation is the Place to Start in a Divorce or Separation

    Divorce or separation is difficult to go through even when it is rather amicable. When feelings are raw and volatile, hostility may be present. Dividing the jointly owned property can be problematic if a couple tries to handle it on their own as their emotions will run high.

    If the couple has children, they need special consideration. It is best if the couple goes through mediation to make fair and equitable decisions about property and children with a neutral third party.

    Attorney Daniel J. Sperrazza offers mediation services to couples in the process of divorcing or separating to help them negotiate a settlement of property division, spousal support as well as child custody, child support and visitation. The goal is to help the couple come to an informed agreement on all the issues involved. Though the mediator is present and facilitates the discussion, it is the two parties who negotiate to come to an equatable agreement.

    Part of the mediation is drawing up the final agreement. Before this agreement is signed, Daniel Sperrazza does require the couple have their own attorneys read the agreement to be certain each party’s rights have been protected in the document.

    If you are considering divorce or separation, engaging a mediator to assist in the negotiation of an agreement, you will find the cost to be much less to have your attorneys review the agreement than it would be to have your attorneys do the negotiating. It could also help in establishing a more amicable relationship between you and your spouse since you will always have some connection, especially if you will be co-parenting.

    If you are in Western New York, including Niagara and Erie counties, you can contact the Sperrazza Law Firm in Buffalo to arrange for mediation. You will appreciate the help in making a difficult situation a little less stressful.