Why is Mediation So Successful?
In October 1998, President Clinton signed the Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 mandating all federal courts to develop an ADR program. For most, as for many state courts, this will principally be a mediation program. It’s well to keep in mind the following:
- 20% of the federal civil caseload is made up of employment cases.
- 50% of those are resolved on Motions for Summary Judgment. Two-thirds of the cases which go to trial are won by plaintiffs. If the jury verdict is $1 Million or more, 80% are reduced or eliminated on remittitur or appeal (and a lower % with lower verdicts).
One of the reasons mediation produces such good results is because it takes the decision-making authority out of the court’s hands and places it in the hands of the people it matters to the most. It also creates a non-confrontational environment where the parties can work together to resolve their issues and come to a respectful, negotiated agreement. This is particularly important in the area of family law where the legal issues are deeply personal and emotional.
Mediation often results in much quicker results, especially for cases on appeal which can take months before they are resolved. It also is a more affordable option than traditional litigation.
If the parties cannot resolve their issues or only come to a mediated agreement on some of the issues, they can submit their case to the court and use the traditional judicial process to resolve any remaining matters. But even a partial agreement can help save time and money by allowing the parties to efficiently dispose of the issues they can agree on.
The cooperative process requires the parties to agree to act in good faith and work together in a collaborative, respectful manner to resolve their issues. The parties also must agree to full and voluntary disclosure of any information necessary to resolve the dispute, including financial records.
THINGS TO CONSIDER ALONG THE WAY
I. Take advantage of any opportunity to settle whenever you end up in mediation, even if the “choice” to try was the result of an agency requirement, court rule, judicial order or a pre-dispute mediation agreement, rather than by the post-dispute decision of the parties or counsel.
A. If mandated, negotiate timing with other side and get the court’s approval if necessary.
B. If you’re uncertain of the experience or competency of the court’s panel of mediators, seriously consider locating – and paying for — a non-panel mediator.
Divorce can be very stressful in any case, but can be even more so in family law cases when so much is at stake. Taking families out of this stressful environment and giving them the power to dictate the terms of their own settlement can be so much more rewarding for everyone involved.
In the state of Minnesota, it is your responsibility to at least attempt to settle your case through the use of ADR and a qualified neutral. The MN ADR Brochure is provided by the State of MN. It explains Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
The way you and your spouse handle your divorce will have an enormous impact upon your children. If you argue and fight, their problems and pain will be magnified. By acting reasonably, you can help your children through one of the most difficult events of their lives.