“That two people's experiences could differ so drastically, yet both be true and deep is maybe the most important lesson I've ever learned.”
- Jamil Zaki, The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process that allows you to resolve your family's dispute with the assistance of an impartial third party. The mediator helps the parties jointly create a mutually acceptable solution. Mediation can help families in many different situations, including divorce, legal separation, custody disputes, property disputes, parenting time, and marital settlement agreements.
What type of cases does Clarity Law mediate?
- All aspects of divorce or family separation;
- Custody or parenting time;
- Other family issues, such as reconciliation, estate distribution, guardianships, prenuptual and post-nuptual agreements.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation involves an impartial, third-party, who's going to help the clients come to a resolution that's appropriate for them. There are many benefits to mediation:
- It is a confidential process, meaning that any information disclosed during the mediation stays within the mediation.
- Mediation is a non-adversarial process that looks at the family's future, rather than the past. Mediation invites the clients to have positive conversation about the future.
- Mediation is voluntary, meaning that clients are able to begin the process and determine if it works for the family.
- Clients have control over the decisions made during mediation. The clients work together to make the final decision and resolve the dispute in a way that is appropriate for the family.
- Mediation is generally much more cost-effective than going to court.
The mediation process is informal and empowers the parties to control the decision-making process. In litigation, the parties give the judge the decision-making authority. The judge listens to the presented facts and makes a decision. The judge's decision may only benefit one side – which may not be you.
Mediation will likely be faster than going to court. Mediation can allow the parties to start thinking about a beneficial resolution sooner than the court process. Starting the mediation process before litigation may help you control the outcome and often results in a positive long-term solution for both parties.
If you find yourself in a dispute that will be going to trial, Oregon courts usually require that the parties participate in confidential mediation and attempt to settle the case. Usually, this mediative process occurs close to the trial. The parties feel pressured to settle a case, which may not result in the best long-term solution for you or your family.
Mediation also allows the family to be flexible in its approach to dispute resolution. A mediator will help you determine whether other specialists are needed to help clarify your options and resolve your dispute.
Mediation encourages each of the parties to be open with each other. In a divorce, the parties are sharing information willingly to ensure that the issues are fully explored. This is distinct from litigation, where the parties are not necessarily open with each other. Although there are some disclosure obligations during litigation, the parties must engage in the discovery process to ensure that all information is available.
What does the mediation process look like?
Mediation can be a flexible process. Typically, the process begins with the mediator meeting with the clients individually to help them set goals and identify their interests. Then, the mediator will meet with the clients jointly to help them work together to achieve their individual goals and reach an appropriate resolution to the dispute. Patrick may ask the parties to meet with him individually, in caucus, to discuss particularly sensitive issues or if the parties do not appear to constructively communicate together. Sessions are usually scheduled for two hours. As a mediator, Patrick will meet with the clients as often as necessary to help them reach an appropriate resolution.
In divorce mediation, many issues may need to be addressed, such as division of the marital assets, spousal support, child support, parenting time. These are difficult and emotional issues. Patrick is committed to helping you constructively explore all of these issues together and find a fitting resolution.
What are the costs of mediation?
Mediation generally is less expensive than litigation. Mediation is a cooperative, forward looking process and is typically non-adversarial - meaning less conflict. Even though Clarity Law recommends that all clients consult with a lawyer before engaging in the mediation process and rely on an attorney to support them through mediation. Mediation representation is known as an unbundled legal service and the client only pays for the attorney as needed, lowering the costs, even with an attorney involved.
How can Patrick Ward help you with mediation?
Patrick Ward is fully trained as a family mediator and is a proud member of the Oregon Mediation Association. He continues to train as a mediator. He has patience, persistence, and common sense and will help you through the dispute resolution process. He will make every effort to help the clients see different perspectives and will help facilitate resolutions. As a mediator, Patrick could not represent any party to the mediation.