In short, it depends.
Throughout my experience I have learned to never underestimate the ability of a case to be resolved through mediation. Whether the parties are peacefully co-parenting and can mediate in one room, or the parties are not speaking to one another and the mediation occurs in separate rooms, mediation can work.
In my opinion, this is due in large part to the opportunity that mediation provides for the parties, attorneys and mediator to craft creative agreements, shaped to meet the needs of the parties. When parties cannot reach an agreement, they leave the final decision-making authority to the court. Generally, the parties are in the best position to know what is in their child’s best interests, and what language would best serve their family. At the end of the family matter process, the family is left with a legal document that they must live with and abide by. Isn’t it ideal if the family has a hand in shaping that document?
Furthermore, mediation can be helpful in saving both time and money. The expenses associated with preparing and executing a 1 or 2-day family matter trial have the potential to double your total costs, and waiting for the court to schedule the trial can take months.
With that said, I find that mediation works best when the parties are honest and look to the future, as opposed to bringing up issues from their past. The best mediation agreements I’ve had are a result of the parties putting their own hurt feelings and history aside and working with one another to meet the best interests of the children. So long as the parties allow for it, mediation works.
If you have a pending divorce or parental rights action, or are planning to file one, contact Attorney Sarah E. Glidden at Fairfield & Associates, P.A. for a free 30 minute consult.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general information about Maine law. The publication of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.