Your family is not like everyone else’s family. If you go to court, the judge would apply the same law to your situation that he or she would apply to everyone else’s. If you would prefer to reach a unique solution crafted to suit your specific needs, then you may want to consider mediation.
Mediation allows family members to resolve their own conflicts. This results in agreements that are often better suited to the family and which everyone is more likely to follow. Mediation also allows parties to side-step litigation, which can be costly and acrimonious.
The mediator is a neutral lawyer who assists the parties to clearly define the issues in dispute and communicate their concerns and possible solutions, with an aim to reach a final settlement that accounts for everyone’s needs and interests.
The mediator will guide the process to clarify and frame the issues in terms acceptable to the parties, will define an agenda to discuss the issues one at a time, and will explore various solutions with the parties so that the best possible agreement can be reached. The mediator cannot give legal advice to the parties but may provide them with legal information respecting the law in the area in dispute, and might offer suggestions to help the parties develop options on their own to resolve the issues. The agreement reached through mediation is reflective of both parties’ needs and interests.
Agreements through mediation tend to be less expensive and more effective than those reached through the court process. With mediation, the decisions about your family’s future will be made by you, and not by a stranger sitting in judgment.