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THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF DIVORCE MEDIATION
By Mitchell Reichman http://jaburgwilk.com/attorneys/mitchell-reichman.aspx
Not all divorces need to be tried in court. Divorce mediation is an alternative the parties can choose instead of litigating their divorce in family law court and having the outcome decided by a judge. Mediation is a private process of resolving disputes by engaging a neutral third party who acts as a facilitator. Their role is to assist the divorcing couple to reach an agreement. In Arizona, mediation is a voluntary process, meaning that both parties must agree to engage in it. Unlike arbitration, the mediator is not empowered to make any decisions.
Potential Benefits of Mediation
Time - All divorce issues can be addressed more quickly in mediation. For example, in Arizona's Maricopa County Superior Court, the time it takes to process a contested divorce can take between eight months to several years, depending on the nature and complexity of the disputed issues. With mediation, the process may take less than 90 days depending on the complexity of the issues and whether professional valuation opinions are needed.
Cost Savings - There is potential for saving a significant amount of money. Not only are the attorney fees typically less, but also the amount of time that will be spent mediating rather than litigating the issues is usually less.
Convenience - Mediation offers a process that is more convenient to the parties. The parties and their attorneys have the flexibility of making appointments with the mediator based on their schedules. Mediations typically occur in the mediator's offices rather than at the courthouse.
Control - The parties control the outcome. The results are the product of an agreement between the parties rather than having a judge decide which may result in perceived "winners" and "losers". Mediation provides an opportunity to be creative in structuring an agreement. This does not mean that agreements are easy to negotiate or that there are not difficult compromises that each party may need to make to reach an agreement. But, the outcome is still the product of an agreement instead of being imposed by a judge.
Children - It is beneficial for the parties' children. It allows parents to structure individualized agreements addressing each parent's specific concerns and the particular needs of their children. Parents are not forced to take harsh public positions against each other and the possibility for cooperative co-parenting after the divorce is enhanced.
While there are many reasons and benefits to mediate to resolve issues in a divorce proceeding rather than litigating, mediation is not always a good choice for everyone. A person's individual circumstances and the dynamics of the parties' relationship with each other needs to be examined before mediation is chosen. There are other important factors that tend to increase the probability of not only a successful mediated resolution but also a fair result.
About the author: Mitchell Reichman http://jaburgwilk.com/attorneys/mitchell-reichman.aspx is an attorney and partner with the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He is an Arizona State Bar certified Family Law Specialist and family law department chair. He is named a Best Lawyers in America, Arizona Top 10 Family Law Lawyer by Arizona Business Magazine and a Southwest Super Lawyer. Mitch is experienced in representing clients in high conflict divorces. He can be reached at 602-248-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MITCHELL REICHMAN is a shareholder at Jaburg Wilk where he chairs the family law department. He is a State Bar certified Family Law Specialist. Now in his thirty fourth year of practice, the majority of his work is in high conflict, complex domestic relations cases involving substantial assets. Admitted to practice in both Arizona and California, Mr. Reichman has been a frequent presenter to lawyers, judges, mental health professionals and accountants in programs sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona, the Maricopa County Bar Association, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the Arizona Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is the current Vice Chair of the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona and has been Co-Chair of the Family Law Section presentation at the State Bar Convention for the past three years. Mr. Reichman is a judge pro tempore in the Maricopa County Superior Court (Family Law Division), has served on the Continuing Legal Education Committee for the Maricopa County Bar Association and was appointed by the President of the Arizona State Senate to serve as a member of the Council on Children's Behavioral Health. Mr. Reichman is listed in Best Lawyers in America 2013 through 2017; Martindale Hubbell's Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and has been recognized as a Southwest Super Lawyer every year since 2009. For a more complete biography, visit
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