Family Law
When two people file for divorce, they often turn to mediation to keep matters out of court. Through alternative dispute resolution, mediators can often help find common ground for an agreement. A lot of people think mediation is a one size fits all approach, but that isn’t the case. In many instances, mediators and attorneys representing clients assess the circumstances of the dispute and determine which ones will work best for the clients.

Choosing a mediation style

Knowing what type of mediation works best depends on the circumstances of the divorce and the people involved. If they are willing to cooperate, a more traditional form of mediation can be useful. If parties are having a hard time agreeing, the dispute may have to take on a particular mediation format.

Common types of mediation

These mediation methods are the most commonly used in alternative dispute resolution:
  • Facilitative mediation: Facilitative mediation helps guide the conversation of conflicting parties while the mediator keeps their opinions to themselves. They do this by asking the two parties to develop an understanding of one another’s interests so that they can create their own resolution.
  • Court-mandated mediation: Mediation is considered voluntary in many cases. However, courts increasingly often requiring couples to participate in the process because it can lead to a timely and affordable result, and can leave the judge to address the significant areas in dispute. This is only productive if the opposing parties and their attorneys are cooperative.
  • Evaluative mediation: Unlike traditional mediation, evaluative mediation gives mediators the ability to insert their advice, feedback and opinion regarding the conflict. Using this method, mediators focus more on the legal merits of their clients’ arguments rather than the clients’ interests to determine what is fair.
  • Transformative mediation: Transformative mediation emphasizes that parties should resolve their conflicts by developing constructive methods of negotiating. It not only helps disputants reach a compromise but teaches them how to discuss similar issues in the future.
  • Med-arb: This method begins with mediation, creating a binding agreement between the two parties. If their dispute isn’t resolved in mediation, the case moves to arbitration that can be binding.
  • Arb-med: In this agreement, neutral arbitrators create an award based on evidence and testimony gathered during arbitration. The two sides then switch to mediation to construct their own accord. If this fails, the arbitration award is revealed.
  • E-mediation: In some cases, conflicting parties aren’t in the same location at the time of their dispute – or they just can’t stand being in the same room together. The E-mediation process attempts to mimic aspects of the facilitative method, but by conference call or with platforms like Skype.

Mediation puts the clients in control

Mediation can be beneficial for any dispute. By choosing a method that fits their circumstances, both parties can walk away from their conflict feeling satisfied with its results because they crafted the agreement together rather than leaving it to a judge.