Since 2005, Utah Law has required mediation in domestic relations cases. Mediation is where the parties meet with the help of a trained mediator and try and come up with a resolution to the case. Typically, there are several benefits to mediation. These benefits include savings in cost and time, greater control for the parties, and narrowing of the issues.
Mediation Saves the Parties Time and Money
On average, a case in Utah that goes to trial can end up costing the parties at least $8,000 to $15,000. These cases can also drag out for years limiting the parties ability to move on. A mediation where the parties resolve the case can cost a fraction of that. For example, if the parties each pay a mediator $100 an hour; and then each pay their attorneys $200 an hour; an eight hour mediation will cost the parties $2,400 each. This understandably saves the parties a significant amount of money.
Resolving the case in mediation also saves the parties time. Typically, a case that goes to trial can take a year or more to resolve with parties needing to take time to go over information and resolve issues through motions. They also need to schedule time with the court which can take weeks, or even months to happen. Typically, a case that settles in mediation will end the case right that day leaving the parties to just wait for the judge to sign any final orders. Understandably, this savings in time is potentially significant.
Mediation Gives the Parties More Control
In court, the parties are typically sacrificing all of their control over the litigation process to the Judge of Commissioner handling their case. They can argue in front of the court. However, ultimately the court has final say. The parties are then stuck the the order whether they like it or not. In contrast, when the parties meet and try and negotiate a settlement, they have complete control over the process.
In mediation, most of what is shared is confidential. Offers made in while negotiating in this setting cannot be used in court. While Utah requires litigants to attend mediation, they may even leave after mediation begins if they feel as if they cannot accomplish anything else in mediation. Because they have greater control, parties who negotiate their cases can also better create individualized solutions to their individual problems.
With this greater control, the parties typically see better long term results. Because the parties have greater control, they are more satisfied with the results of the case. In addition to this, they start off their post-relationship lives working together towards a solution. As a result, many couples actually report an improvement in their relationship with their former partner after a divorce where the parties settled their case in mediation. Because of the advantages of greater control over the process parties, mediation can help the parties resolve the case in a much more satisfactory manner then otherwise.
Narrowing the Issues
Unfortunately, mediation is not a cure-all for litigation. However, even if a negotiations fall through, there is a benefit. This process can still help narrow down the issues in a court case. This helps the parties to know the areas where the parties disagree and help them focus their efforts there if the case goes to trial. This narrowing of issues also helps the parties see the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. They will then be better prepared for trial even if they cannot resolve their case.
Our office can assist you in mediation and other family law matters. Feel free to Contact our office for help with this, and any other legal issues that you might have.