The attorneys at the Law Office of Shaunna L. Browne, PLLC can assist you through the mediation process by providing you with the legal knowledge and assistance that will allow you to make fully informed decisions during the entire mediation process. It is important that you know your legal rights and responsibilities before executing any type of documents which will have long standing effects on your family’s future.
In addition to providing you with legal representation when you are working with a third party mediator, Attorney Shaunna L. Browne can also provide you with mediation services. Attorney Shaunna L. Browne has been practicing in the area of family law since 2000. She can utilize her knowledge and negotiation skills to assist you and your spouse and/or the parent of your child(ren) to reach a negotiated resolution to some, if not all, of the issues that need to addressed in order to finalize a pending divorce or parenting matter. If you are interested in mediation services, then please contact the office so that an initial consultation with both parties can be scheduled during which Attorney Browne will meet with both parties together, explain the mediation process, the terms of the Agreement to Mediate, and obtain each party’s input with respect to their expectations and potential issues to be resolved. At the conclusion of the consultation, each party will be provided with items and forms to be completed prior to the next mediation session. Mediation is customized to each family’s needs so it is impossible to estimate how long the process will take and how much it will cost. However, any and all efforts will be made to minimize the duration and costs, however, a lot will depend upon each party’s commitment to the process.
Should I Hire an Attorney or a Mediator?
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution. A mediator will receive and review brief position summaries from the parties, and then meet with them in a controlled setting in an attempt to bring about some mutually acceptable resolution of a pending claim.
The Family Division system requires all parties that have minor children to participate in at least one mediation session with a Court Appointed Mediator, who may or may not be an attorney. The Court’s goal is to resolve cases quickly, with minimal use of Court time and resources. While mediation has its place, in my opinion it is forced on parties way too early in the divorce process, at a time when they are emotionally fragile and vulnerable, when one party may be seeking to “please” or not further “anger” their spouse.
BEWARE OF ATTEMPTING TO MEDIATE YOUR DIVORCE BEFORE YOU HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH AND HIRE A TRAINED AND EXPERIENCED LAWYER TO PREPARE AND ASSIST YOU IN THAT PROCESS.
Parties also have the option of hiring a private mediator. This is when the parties agree upon and hire a mediator to work with them outside of the Court system. Private mediation can occur prior to anything being filed with the Court or even after a matter is pending. Private mediation can provide parties with the ability to work through all of the various issues that need to be discussed and agreed upon in a neutral setting. This allows the parties to have more control over their future and tends to decrease the overall acrimony that can be created when a divorce or parenting situation is left for the Court to decide.
Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
While mediation may have its benefits, parties have to be on completely equal footing, in terms of emotional strength, objectives, full and equal knowledge of their financial situations and histories, and willingness to be fair and reach an even handed resolution.
You should also know that a mediated agreement is binding and cannot be easily changed or modified, without great expense and delay. Oftentimes, mediators give bad or incomplete advice (they are not supposed to give any!) and many of them seem concerned with moving cases along and pleasing the Court so they can receive more mediation appointments. They are not your friends and are not concerned about the long term consequences of a mediated agreement upon you, your children, and family.
If parties have discussed divorce and believe that they can reach an agreement regarding all issues that the Court would address in a divorce matter then my firm can assist you by preparing the necessary documents to finalize your divorce matter. Again, do not simply rely upon the check box forms provided by the Court as they are often ambiguous and create misunderstandings which can and most likely will result in costly post divorce litigation.
As a small firm I understand the financial struggles that each of my clients’ face when dealing with divorce and parenting issues. While I do not encourage clients to enter into any type of legal proceeding without legal counsel, my firm is able to provide limited representation (a.k.a. Unbundled Services), which is discussed further on our Unbundled Services Page.