By: Christa Banfield, Esq.
You’ve now been able to read up on the pros and cons of mediation.
Assuming you’ve decided that the pros outweigh the cons - and I’d
opine they usually do – your next step is to think about the different
types of mediation and decide which would best fit your needs.
There are three main styles or types of mediation- facilitative, evaluative,
Facilitative mediation is the oldest style of the three. In this method, the mediator acts as
a facilitator to get the parties to reach an agreement. Therefore, the
mediator does not offer advice or recommendations, their role is really
to keep the lines of communication open between the parties so that they
can come to their own agreements. Facilitative mediators tend to have
a background in dispute resolution. In facilitative mediation, the parties
are likely to be in the same room with each other.
Evaluative mediation is the most common used in family law matters. In this method, the mediator
will give advice and recommendations based on what they think a judge
would do with the issues. They look at the mediation as a way to avoid
the risk and expense of trial, and are less concerned with understanding
or repairing the underlying relationship of the parties. Evaluative mediators
tend to have a background in the legal field as either attorneys or judges.
In evaluative mediation, the parties are likely to remain in separate
rooms, with the mediator going back and forth between the two.
Transformative mediation is the newest of the three methods. As its name suggests, the mediator’s
goal in this method is to “transform” the relationship of
the parties involved by addressing the underlying issues and empowering
the parties to work together again by getting them to recognize the other’s
needs and concerns. Transformative mediators tend to have a background
in the mental health profession. Because of its focus on repairing the
underlying relationship, the parties must be in the same room with each
other for this style of mediation.
The different styles set forth above focus on the role of the mediator
and the parties involved. Another issue to consider is whether or not
you want an attorney involved in your mediation. Many people are choosing
to proceed with private mediation, in lieu of litigation, and forego even
having their own attorneys present. The benefit to this method is that
it keeps costs lower and has the potential to keep the process more low-key
and amicable. Some people will choose a compromise -to attend private
mediation without any attorneys present, but retain an attorney on a consulting
basis so they can check in with that attorney should they have questions
or concerns about how the process is going.
However, for many people it’s important to feel like they have a
knowledgeable advocate next to them in this process. After all, in many
divorces, you are dividing up the entirety of a couple’s life savings,
making decisions that affect their daily finances, and divvying up responsibility
for and time that they get to spend with their children. These are serious,
life-changing matters that most people don’t take lightly by any
means and may want a strong advocate with them in deliberating and making
these decisions. Furthermore, as mentioned in last week’s blog,
if you do not trust the other person involved or do not feel like you
have the ability to stand up for yourself and your own interests adequately,
a lawyer’s assistance may be invaluable.
Whichever style or form of mediation seems most suited to you and whether
or not you feel involving an attorney is necessary, there is no shortage
of options for pursuing some level of mediation. If you would like to
speak with one of our experienced Attorneys to obtain more information
about the options available to you, please
Owens & Perkins at
480.630.2464 to schedule your free 30 minute complimentary consultation.