By Kecia Caudill Van’t Hof
In Iowa, mediation is now court-ordered in family law matters. Many clients, at the onset of their divorce or custody case, are not familiar with mediation and come to their attorney with a lot of questions and mixed emotions. Some clients do not think mediation is worth it, and believe it is a waste of time. While other clients are hopeful that mediation will work but are unsure of how it will work.
The bottom line – mediation is the last opportunity you and your spouse or former significant other can decide for yourselves.
Although there is time to negotiate after mediation and before the trial, the potential to go to trial is still there. At trial, a judge will decide your fate and it might not be how either of you would have decided if given the opportunity to work together again.
As an attorney, it is good to encourage your client to be prepared for mediation. A client needs to go into the mediation knowing exactly what they want on every issue involved in the case. They need to be willing to compromise on some things, to take in what the mediator says, and they also need to stand firm on their non-negotiables. If both clients go in with an open-mind, and if they have both thought out all parts of the matter, then there is a high chance that matters can be resolved in mediation.
Mediation has a very high success rate, one program stating that over 70% of participants reach an agreement on all or part of the issues presented at mediation. Mediation is an informal, cost-effective, private, and quick process, that if client willing, can be a very advantageous tool for clients to utilize when going through a difficult and stressful moment in their lives.
If you have a question about mediation, please contact our office and we would love to help you better understand all options you will have when walking through your family law matter