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RESOURCES - SINGLE AND DIVORCING PARENTS

« Should step-siblings be kept together? | Main | Domestic violence | Guiding victims | Supporting survivors »

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I couldn't agree with you more about early mediation, Jeanne. It saves money and relationships. But even here, preparation by the attorney is very helpful. Not so much a summary or even discovery, but preparation of the client for mediation and helping with financial negotiation particularly.

Thanks again for all your great work, Jeanne!

Dear Mr. Barron:

Thank you for your insightful comments. I agree completely with you. Several things contribute to excessive cost for mediation and failure of mediation. Chief among these is a failure of counsel to prepare adequately for mediation. For me the failure of opposing counsel to provide the client with reasonable expectations is a real aggravation. Recently in local mediations, opposing counsel fails to submit a mediation summary. This makes it difficult for the mediator to get a real grasp of the issues. The message seems clear: I'm a litigator. I want to litigate because it's good for the lawyer. I am not interested in facilitating settlement.

I view early mediation in domestic relations cases as an opportunity to reach a reasonable settlement before the parties destroy their relationship and ability to communicate.

Your article hits the nail on the head. If people are motivated to fairly resolve the issues, mediation can be a most effective settlement tool.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Jeanne,
Jim Harrington is absolutely correct that mediators are rarely paid for all their time and lose money when attorneys cancel on short notice. My experience as a mediator has been that counsel who keep the mediator apprised of developments in their case also keep the cost down, at least when the mediator is charging an hourly rate. If counsel has unusually limited funds for mediation, counsel should work with the mediator up front to devise the most efficient process for mediation. I have sometimes found that counsel who complain about a "wasted mediation" often have sabotaged the process either by being unprepared on the facts, law or evidence or have failed to prepare their client for the process and for "the facts of life."
You may be interested in a brief article I wrote on this some time ago. http://www.mediate.com/rbarron/pg24.cfm
Thanks for your helpful web-site.
Richard Morley Barron
Barron Mediation
Flushing, MI

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