Benefits Of Mediation For Missourians In Family Law Matters

Over the years in practice in Platte City, family law attorney Robert Black has continued to discover new benefits to the mediation approach to family law. All of his experience strongly supports the following:

Mediation Is Better For Children

An unfortunate idea about the other model – adversarial litigation (or trial) – is that the end game occurs on the day of trial when the judge announces his or her decision. The fact is your responsibility as parents will continue long into the future until your children are fully grown and mature. Litigation (win-lose trials) pits husband against wife — mother against father — in what is often a lengthy and painful process that results in increased conflict between the parties. No matter how hard people try, it is extremely difficult to keep children out of that conflict. Parents may become so engrossed in their anger towards the other parent that they lose sight of the emotional damage that high-conflict divorce can and does cause to children.

Family law mediation helps keep both parties focused on the issues that matter most to the children and avoids putting children in the middle of the divorce or separation. Family law mediation is nonadversarial and nonconfrontational. It offers the promise of reduced conflict between the parents.

Some research has shown that 50 percent of court-ordered child support is not being paid one year later, while 85 percent of mediated child support is. Additionally, children of parents who engaged in divorce mediation had significantly fewer behavioral problems and better relationships with both parents over a 20-year period than those children whose parents went to trial in a win-lose battle.

Mediation Is Confidential

As a family law mediator, Robert Black is ethically bound to preserve the confidentiality of everything that is said in mediation sessions. Because trials tend to be win-lose, bad things are said about both parties in open court. In a mediated case, the only information cited in open court are the solutions crafted by the parties themselves.

The Mediator's Neutrality Is A Benefit

As your mediator, my responsibility is to both of you. I don't take sides, I don't judge, I don't criticize. My sole purpose is to help you reach a fair and equitable settlement that works for both of you. That said, my experience as a family law attorney enables me to offer, but not dictate, alternatives to various issues that I have observed with other clients and alternatives that I have seen from family law judges. — Family law mediation attorney Robert Black

Mediation Keeps Family Members In Control Of Their Own Lives

A number of family law judges have stated that "the worst solution a husband and wife can come up with is better than my best solution."  Why would a judge say that? Because the judge knows that in trial, he or she sees a small snapshot of you and your children's lives. Mediation places you in charge of the outcomes. You know most and best about yourselves and your children. You should be in control of the outcomes of your divorce or other family law matter – it is the first step you will take in shaping your future. Litigation places attorneys and judges largely in control of the outcomes. That can be terribly stressful and unpredictable. In mediation, all decisions are yours – no guesswork, no rolling the dice, no second-guessing what might be said about you in court.

Mediation Costs Less

In litigation, communication tends to be, for example, from husband to husband's attorney to wife's attorney to wife, and then back the same way. Grade school communications exercises tell us what happens there. That cumbersome method of communication, and other characteristics of the litigation model itself, tends to have two results – increased costs and decreased clarity about what is happening in the divorce process. Mediation places the parties face to face with a professional mediator and direct communication about all aspects of the divorce or other family law matter. In Mr. Black's experience, most people who use a mediator save substantial amounts of money on their divorce, and often with better, or similar, results.

Contact the law office to schedule a consultation and discuss how mediation can benefit your Missouri divorce or custody case.