Coeur d’Alene Mediation Attorney
What is Mediation?
Although mediation is a less formal method than a divorce trial before a judge, there are important legal rights at stake when you attend mediation. It is vital that you have a comprehensive understanding of your rights during mediation, as well as the legal ramifications of your mediated decisions. Because of this, it is extremely important that you have a Coeur d’Alene mediation attorney by your side once you have chosen to go through mediation. With an office located in Coeur d’Alene, our firm serves all of Kootenai County. We focus on representing parties in mediation and thus do not serve as mediators. We have developed a strong reputation working with the trained Kootenai County mediators.
Mediation is an informal yet private way of settling a dispute without going before a judge to make decisions in the dispute. Individuals involved in mediation will meet with a neutral third party as a means of ending conflict via a mutually agreeable solution. Parties are not forced to agree to a solution during mediation, rather the mediator seeks to facilitate communication between the parties, helping them reach an agreement.
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While lawyers are sometimes involved in mediation, in other instances they may not be involved. Mediation is available in most non-criminal matters but is most often used during a contentious divorce or child custody case. In fact, conflict that arises in divorce and child custody cases is, in many ways, ideal for mediation.
Mediation that produces agreement between the parties occurs in 50-80 percent of all mediated cases. Mediation typically takes less time than litigation as well, with a typical litigated divorce taking up to two years, and a typical mediated divorce taking from 3-6 months. It is extremely important that you have a Crouse Erickson mediation attorney in your corner during the mediation process.
Why Choose a Coeur d’Alene Mediation Attorney from Crouse Erickson?
When you are choosing a family law attorney, you will want to choose one that has significant experience in all family law matters—including mediation. The Crouse Erickson Family Law Attorneys have been exclusively practicing family law for 30 years. We have a level of understanding and knowledge regarding the Idaho family law system that you rarely find. Our experience always works to your advantage as we fight on your behalf for the best possible outcome to your family law issue.
Our intense level of case preparation, as well as our client-centric service, ensure you receive exemplary legal representation. If you have a family law issue, Crouse Erickson is ready right now to become your advocate throughout the process. We have a deep understanding of the emotional nature of family law issues and are compassionate to your situation.
What Are the Advantages of Mediation?
Mediation can provide a more productive approach to navigating a divorce. There are several significant advantages associated with mediation, including:
- Generally speaking, mediation is less stressful than typical divorce proceedings. A divorce comes with frequent meetings with your attorney, court appearances, and potential confrontations with your ex. A mediator’s job is to ease tensions between the spouses, removing emotion from the process. When there is less stress on you, there is less stress on your entire family, meaning you, your children, and your place of employment will all benefit from mediation. (People going through a divorce tend to be less efficient and more distracted).
- Mediation tends to be less expensive than a divorce trial since it typically takes less time, and the proceedings are simpler in nature.
- Mediation is usually quicker than a litigated divorce.
- Mediation is more flexible, allowing for unique solutions to unique situations.
- While a divorce trial is a matter of public record, mediation is private and confidential. Your mediator will be the only one that hears the discussions, and the only document the court receives is the final mediated settlement.
- Mediation tends to be a more peaceful, child-centered solution when child custody is an issue. Children are not required to appear or testify in court on either parent’s behalf.
- Most people that successfully complete mediation feel satisfied with the process and the results.
What Can I Expect During Mediation?
Mediation is an informal process in which a third party (the mediator) helps a divorcing couple reach a resolution to their conflicts. You and your attorney will meet with your spouse and his or her attorney, along with a mediator. The mediator in these meetings does not make decisions and does not make determinations on who is “right” or “wrong.” The mediator may not give legal advice; he or she will only assist with conflict resolution and negotiating a divorce settlement.
You can expect your mediator to encourage open discussions, while still keeping those discussions structured. You may discuss asset division, support payments, and custody arrangements during divorce mediation. You will be expected to honestly and openly reveal finances and assets, as well as your goals for your divorce and the mediation. That being said, mediation is not a free-for-all, and a good mediator will stop the conversation if it is going sideways or getting too emotional. Your divorce mediator should be neutral in all aspects; if you sense your mediator is biased, consider finding a new mediator.
Is Mediation Required for a Divorce in Idaho?
Although mediation is not a legal requirement during your divorce, a judge may ask that you attempt mediation prior to litigating your divorce or child custody. The court will likely view prolonged disagreements between parents as harmful to the children, however, the manner in which the court attempts to minimize conflict varies from county to county. An Idaho county without a family court might be more likely to order mediation prior to divorce litigation. Couples can, however, choose on their own to undergo mediation, and many couples do.
Are There Instances Where Mediation is Inappropriate?
While mediation can be an excellent solution for many of those going through a divorce or child custody case, there are certain instances when mediation is not the correct solution. These situations include:
- In marriages where domestic violence is present, mediation is not likely to be successful. Abusers may intimidate the abused during the proceedings, preventing the abused individual from speaking his or her mind, feeling confident in choices, or freely expressing himself or herself.
- When one party has substance abuse issues or a mental disability, decision-making can be impaired. Since there is no guarantee the person is understands his or her choices and options, mediation is not the appropriate solution. Dealing with a spouse with substance abuse, mental disability, or an abusive spouse is difficult, frustrating, and sometimes frightening, dealing with those issues during a divorce can be untenable. In these situations, it is much better to use your attorney as a buffer between you and your spouse. This can not only make you feel safer, but it can also keep your spouse in line during the process as well.
- When the divorce is particularly contentious, the parties may be emotionally unable to sit in the same room with the other person. This could be due to fear of emotional outbursts, or due to threats or intimidation tactics. For mediation to be effective, both parties must be able to stand up for themselves and express their opinions freely.
It is essential that both parties feel they can freely express themselves during mediation, as this is the only way a mutually agreeable solution can be found.
What if I Don’t Like the Results of My Idaho Mediation?
If either party is unhappy with the results of the mediation, they can simply say no settlement was reached, and they will go back to the litigation process. The divorce will be set for trial, and, in the end, a judge will make the decisions regarding asset division, child custody, maintenance, and child support. It is generally in the best interests of both parties to make mediation work. When a judge makes all the decisions, very often, neither party is happy with the outcome. Mediation, on the other hand, can usually result in both parties being at least somewhat okay with the outcome.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me During Mediation?
While you are not required to have a lawyer present for mediation, there are definitely some advantages. When you have a lawyer with you, you are assured of serious offers and a higher likelihood of resolving the case in your favor. Having an attorney with you during mediation also ensures you are not taken advantage of. Your attorney will ensure any settlement agreement you reach is comprehensive, and that issue is resolved. There are special rules that apply with respect to child custody mediation. Under Idaho law, custody mediation sessions are off-limits to attorneys unless the mediator requests that they be present. Even so, your attorney can review any child custody agreement before you sign.
How a Coeur d’Alene Mediation Attorney from Crouse Erickson Family Law Attorneys Can Help You
At Crouse Erickson Family Law Attorneys, we can schedule mediation for you to resolve child custody and support issues, determine asset values and appropriate distributions, and resolve any highly contested issues. If mediation is unsuccessful, our highly experienced attorneys are prepared to litigate the issues on your behalf. We have thousands of satisfied clients, and we believe you will be happy you chose Crouse Erickson as well. With an office located in Coeur d’Alene, our firm serves all of Kootenai County. Contact Crouse Erickson today for the very best family law advocates and legal professionals.