Let’s face it, a contested divorce in Wisconsin that requires litigation is time consuming, expensive, and most of all, mentally and emotionally draining. Additionally, uncertainty looms when proceeding through the court process because you are leaving the outcome of your case up to the judge.
Oftentimes, couples seek an alternative to avoid the potentially hostile environment created through the courtroom experience. That alternative, which reduces stress levels and aims to amicably resolve the issues within a divorce, is mediation.
WHAT IS FAMILY LAW MEDIATION IN A WISCONSIN DIVORCE CASE?
Mediation is a non-binding process whereby the individual assumes control of decisions that are determined through their divorce case. The term non-binding means you are not legally obligated to carry out its terms. However, the goal of the divorce mediation process is to turn voluntarily agreements into binding agreements which may then be reduced into a contract.
In Wisconsin, mediation uses a neutral third party to facilitate a discussion about the topics that come up during the family law or divorce process. The goal is to zero-in on the issues that matter most by effectively and efficiently helping you work through your problems to reach an amicable resolution.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIVORCE MEDIATION IN WISCONSIN?
There are in fact 2 types of mediation: evaluative and facilitative, and each works differently.
Evaluative Mediation: In this type of mediation, the mediator has a more hands-on approach. Typically, the parties will each prepare their idea of a resolution, which would include each parties’ positions. Those are then provided to the mediator.
Next, the mediator will review each party’s position and provide insight regarding the strengths and weaknesses of both positions. The mediator will then give an opinion, which is usually in the form of a proposal outlining how the mediator believes the case should be settled. The parties are then free to accept or reject that proposal.
Facilitative Mediation: In this type of mediation, the mediator facilitates the negotiation between the parties in order to reach a desired interest and to turns that into a binding agreement.
To accomplish this, the mediator aims to ensure that each party understands the issues being brought up by their spouse. The mediator will then try to get the parties to engage in meaningful conversation to allow the parties to come to an agreement that they can both accept.
ISNT MEDIATION REQUIRED FOR MY WISCONSIN DIVORCE OR CHILD CUSTODY CASE?
Although mediation is a requirement in Wisconsin, the only issues that can be mediated through the court process are child placement and custody issues. Issues not included are financial matters that come up in the divorce process and pre- or post-judgment child support cases. Further, if you are already engaged in the court process, you have likely forfeited the idea of control and are spending much of your time and money on an exhaustive litigated process.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION?
Listed below are some of the advantages that mediation provides:
- Cost effectiveness
- Mediation will almost certainly be less expensive than litigation
- Finality can be obtained and achieved far in advance of a scheduled trial.
- The mediation process is entirely confidential, which allows the parties to be more open with one another. In addition, words communicated through mediation cannot be used in court, should mediation be unsuccessful.
DO I STILL NEED AN ATTORNEY IF I DECIDE TO MEDIATE MY DIVORCE OR CUSTODY CASE MYSELF?
It can be very beneficial to hire an experienced family law mediator to assist in the legal process. He or she has likely counseled many clients through divorce and/or child custody cases and will provide you with much insight and expert advice.
While mediation may not be for everyone, it remains a viable solution to the time consuming, cost ineffectiveness, and stress of any contested matter.
If you are looking for a mediator to help you amicably resolve your divorce, custody, or family law case, call J.G. Law today at (920) 383-1116 to learn more about how mediation can work for you.