ADR/Mediation?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 03-26-2008, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have any experience or knowledge with ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution),which I guess is just basically mediation? The judge that is overseeing my divorce case just ordered it and I am not sure exactly what it entails. Any info would be great! I am thinking it is just a last resort to get custody/other issues solved before having to go to court?
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#2 of 3 Old 03-27-2008, 01:11 PM
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Most jurisdicitons order mediation before allowing litigation. It can work if the parties are relatively close in what they want. My mediation was a complete joke, given that I have a narcissistic bully of an ex, who had no intention of compromising. It was actually the single most stressful, dramatic day of the entire two years of the custody case, due in no small part to having a condescending (to me) mediator.

Generally a mediation consists of the parties, their attorneys and the mediator meeting and discussing division of assets, custody, visitation, child support and related matters. I chose to request that we caucus, which meant that ex and his attorney were in one room and my attorney and I were in another room, with the mediator going back and forth between the rooms relating the various offers each side was making. I chose this because my ex had a history of being extremely confrontational with me several times in several public settings. This is not the norm, however. Most mediations occur with all the parties in the same room.

Mediation left a sour taste in my mouth, but I know that that had everything to do with the personalities involved. Some people find it very helpful. It's also possible to reach a partial agreement in mediation, wherein the parties agree on some of the issues at hand, but still wind up in court to settle the remaining issues.
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#3 of 3 Old 03-28-2008, 05:14 PM
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One of the strengths of mediation is that it's done with willing participants. When it becomes court ordered, it can destroy that component and leave the parties feeling much like WatermelonSnow. There is much debate in the world of ADR over the effectiveness of court ordered mediation.

However, since the courts are so overloaded, I guess the idea is that if you even get one party out of every 1000 or whatever that can settle out of court, that's one less docket for them. Or, if people can come to some agreements without the judge, it frees up more time too.

Mediation can be done with or without lawyers. It can be done in the same room or in separate rooms. It is more generally more effective in the same room, unless there are specific reasons (like mentioned above) to shuttle back and forth.

Another great strength of mediation is that the parties themselves come up with the solution, instead of a judge...who is virtually a stranger dictating how your lives are now going to be.

If you are ordered, the best thing to do is go in as open and willing as possible. If your ex does too, you will all benefit from not having to go to court. If not, you already know you're headed to court, so all it does is show you acted in good faith to come to a solution.

Good luck.
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