In Mediation, You are in Control of Your Own Destiny
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When dealing with a family matter issue, you do not have to go at it alone. Give us a call and we can discuss the entire case during a comprehensive attorney consultation.
Let's Discuss Your Case - We're Here For You.
When dealing with a family matter issue, you do not have to go at it alone. Schedule your comprehensive attorney consultation now and we can discuss the entire case.
Litigation is an adversarial battle. It is designed to be that way. The emphasis is on defeating the other party. And the process is long and often expensive. A year can pass before the trial takes place. In the end, the judge – someone who is a stranger to the parties – has the power to make enormous decisions that will affect the lives of the parents and children for years to come. Their futures are literally in the hands of the judge. There will be a winner, and a loser, but often neither party will be happy with the final result.
Mediation is different. It is collaborative and communicative. And in mediation the parties are in control of the process. They are in charge of negotiating the terms of their own agreement, with the assistance of a qualified mediator who is experienced in helping parties come together and find common ground. As a result, people who participate in mediation are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome.
The beauty of Mediation is that it is voluntary, confidential, and non-binding.
Voluntary: Nobody is forced to be there, and either party can terminate the session at any time. If a party is uncomfortable with the process, or the mediator, or the positions the other party is taking, he or she can end the session and leave.
Confidential: Nothing that is said in the mediation can be used in court. The mediator cannot be subpoenaed to testify in court. Thus, the parties are free to express themselves without fear that their negotiating positions, or anything they say, will be used against them in court. Communication is often the key to being able to reach a fair agreement.
Non-Binding: The mediator is simply a neutral facilitator, someone who helps the parties communicate and negotiate their own settlement. Unlike a judge, the mediator has no power to make a ruling or a legal decision, so you don’t have to worry about the other party influencing the mediator or convincing the mediator to take his or her side. The mediator has no power to tell you what will be.
Typical Outcomes – In litigation, most cases are settled – but in many instances, the settlement does not take place until right before trial; and in the meantime, the parties have gone through a year of turmoil and have spent many thousands of dollars on attorneys and litigation expenses. In mediation, the odds of settling a case are surprisingly high. I believe it is because, in mediation, the parties are able to communicate with the help of an expert facilitator; and when a dispute or disagreement arises, they can deal with the problem right then and there. I have found that people tend to be much happier with a mediated settlement than with a judge’s ruling, because this is “their” agreement. They negotiated it themselves, with the help of the mediator. It was not imposed upon them by a judge. Going through the peaceful process of Mediation can help the parties settle the matter sooner, and save both time and a great deal of money in the bargain.
How an Agreement is Finalized – Once the parties have reached an agreement, the mediator will usually prepare a “Memorandum of Understanding,” setting forth the specific terms. This is a non-binding agreement. It means that you still have time to think about whether the terms of the agreement are truly acceptable to you. Neither party can be held to the terms of a mediated settlement agreement unless they both sign and acknowledge that the settlement is a binding contract. This provides another layer of protection for you.
There are a number of different ways that ways parties can handle mediation:
With, or without, attorneys – The parties can mediate without attorneys present; or they can have their attorneys by their side, so that they can obtain advice and guidance during the session, and not be intimidated or coerced into coming to an agreement;
Face-toFace, or by Caucus – The parties can all meet together with the mediator around a table in a conference room; or, of one or both are uncomfortable with face-to-face communication, then they can mediate by “caucus,” with each party sitting in a different room – and the mediator shuttling back and forth.
Each of these options has its pros and cons, but any of them can be very effective.
The goal of mediation is to negotiate a fair divorce settlement. Your choice will depend on which option you think will give you the best chance of success.
Deciding whether to have attorneys present in the mediation will depend on (1) your comfort level; (2) how you think the other party will react to having attorneys in the session (i.e., will it make him or her more, or less, likely to come to an agreement?); and (3) whether the lawyers’ demeanor would enhance the chances of negotiating a settlement, or whether their attitude and posturing might make things more difficult – for example, an attorney who is contentious or unreasonable can sabotage a mediation, even when the parties themselves are trying to be fair.
Many mediators prefer not to have attorneys present in the session. But, on the other hand, keep in mind that in some cases, mediation fails because, without a lawyer by her or his side, a party may not feel confident enough to agree to a final settlement. In other cases, a person might agree to a bad deal in mediation because he or she begins to feel weak, and just gives in. Therefore, whether you wish to have your attorney present is a personal decision. You need to decide what would be best for you.
Whichever option you choose, you can (and should) have your attorney work with you in advance,, so that you will be able to walk into your mediation session confident and well-prepared. You should approach mediation as if it were a business negotiation (even if it involves custody and parenting time issues). That way, you will be better able to think rationally and keep your composure.
Mediation should be your first option. If it doesn’t work, you’ll still be able to have your day in court. But in most cases, mediation it is quicker and far less expensive than litigation; and it has a high rate of success. It is truly the peaceful path.
Gary J. Frank is an Arizona attorney and former Judge Pro Tem with over thirty years of experience in dealing with custody and parenting issues in Family Court. If you are in need of a consultation regarding divorce, child custody, or any other area of Family Law, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone (602-383-3610) or by email through our website. We look forward to hearing from you.
Family Law Client
I had a very legally and emotionally difficult case and was fortunate enough to have Mr. Frank’s legal assistance. Mr. Frank was extremely professional, reliable, and competent. He always kept me informed of my case, and he gave me great legal insights. His litigation expertise and easy disposition allowed me to be comfortable and less stressed considering the situation. Mr. Frank always treated me with respect and valued my input. I felt part of a collaborative effort rather than the usual attorney-client relationship. It was a pleasure working with Mr. Frank, and I would most definitely recommend him to my friends and family.
I would recommend your services to anyone!
I am very satisfied for all you have done for me throughout my divorce and custody cases. You listened to what was important to me and you made it your number-one priority. The safety of my children meant the world to me and you helped me keep them safe. You are excellent in the courtroom. Throughout all of my court cases and different issues with my ex-husband, you helped me stay calm and grounded. I believe in our justice system since I was lucky enough to have an amazing attorney. Mr Gary Frank, you were a godsend in many ways, and every time I look at my children and know they’re safe I thank God for finding such a great attorney. I would recommend your services to anyone! Thank you once again for all your hard work.
I feel re-born!
“I can’t tell you how much I am now enjoying my life. It sounds crazy, but I feel re-born! Of course, I have my days, but they are fewer and fewer. I spend time with family and friends and for the first time in seven plus years, I feel alive and well. I will never be able to thank you enough for all your caring and encouragement throughout this extremely stressful and challenging time in my life. I could not have managed to get through it without your support.”
A Lawyer That Cares
I chose Hannah to represent me because I know she personally invest herself into each and every client. I could tell she really cared and was ready to fight for me. When I called to schedule for a consult, Hanna received the phone call, not some lawyer’s assistant or front desk person. She has gone above and beyond what was asked of her. She knows what she’s doing. Thank you so much Hanna!
I was going through a family court case & did not have a lawyer. I needed help filling out paperwork & knowing what to do in court. Mr. Frank met with me on several occasions & helped with properly filling out all of my paperwork & informing me of the correct way to file it. He gave me his cell phone # & always returned my calls promptly.
Gary was recommended to me by a relative. I was in a long-term abusive marriage and had had enough and was ready to put an end to it. while being “ready” I was scared to death as I was someone with low self-esteem and so afraid of how my Ex would respond. Gary gave me the courage to stand up for myself and helped me work thru my insecurities so that I was able to testify in court and breath. He walked me through all the steps of what we were going to do so that I understood. he was always ready to answer any questions/concerns I had in a timely manner (and I had a lot). I have recommended Gary to several friends going thru a divorce and I will continue to do so. I can’t thank him enough for his help and what he has done for me.
When you need better than the best
It is all about passion. Whether you play baseball, run a bakery, or practice law, you will do it better if you have passion. Hanna has that passion. She helped guide me through my trying times during my divorce and custody case. Her impeccable professionalism, humanity, and understanding as well as being tough enough to get things done were beyond what I could ever hope for. I couldn’t ask for a better attorney than Hanna. She not only cared about me, she also cared about the well-being of my daughter. I would highly recommend her to anyone.
Gary and Hanna are the most amazing and compassionate attorneys in AZ. They go above and beyond and would highly recommend them to anyone! They work with you and actually care about the well being of your children vs. Money (unlike most others). I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for my own family. Angels.
Thanks From A Confident Dad
Gary, I see your LinkedIn posts every now and then and just wanted to send you a quick note. Wow, the last 6 years have been a whirlwind. I just want to thank you again for the support and guidance you provided to me 6 years ago. It has made a monumental difference in my life. My son’s mother and I made the mutual decision to move (out of state) about a year and a half ago. Ironically, we live in the same neighborhood now, we’ve got our parenting plan at about 50% time each, and we walk him to school. We get along, and it honestly can’t be any better. My son is now in 1st grade, and he has a brother who is a year and a half. In the past 6 years, I’ve evolved from the scared, immature, insecure person who sat in your office to a confident father of two boys. Your input and guidance had a lot to do with that, so, thank you. I do miss Arizona – in due time, hopefully, I’ll be back.
Family Law Client
Successful Relocation Case
To say I am grateful would not be giving you guys enough credit. I am humbled to have found you and blessed beyond words.
Family Law Client
I Know In My Heart I Chose The Right Attorneys To Represent Me
I appreciate all of you and all that you have done on my behalf. Most of all, I appreciate all of your moral support and your faith in me and my intentions. I know in my heart that I chose the “Right Attorneys” to represent me. I am happy that I chose wisely and trusted my heart & my ‘gut instinct.’
November 2009 I retained Mr. Frank for almost two years to represent me in a visitation modification filed by my ex-husband. Mr. Frank quickly and efficiently became familiar with my case and was very honest about all the potential results that could occur. I truly feel that Mr. Frank had my children’s best interests in mind…