Clients often ask me whether I think that it is a good idea to attempt mediation and my answer is almost always, YES. People going through a divorce are sometimes reluctant to mediate because they think that there is no chance of reaching a settlement and,therefore, they view mediation as a waste of time. However, that may not be the best attitude to take when going through a divorce.
In my experience, most divorce cases end up settling at mediation. Of those cases that do not settle prior to trial, one of the primary reasons they do not end up settling is that there is a lack of communication between the parties. Mediation provides the parties with a forum to open the lines of communications and to come up with a solution that is acceptable to both of the parties. Mediators often like to say that a good settlement is one in which both sides walk away equally unhappy. In order to reach a settlement each party must make some concessions. However, in many instances it is better to make some concessions rather than risk going to trial. Given the large number of family law cases filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court, it can take a year or longer from the time that you file for divorce until the date of your divorce trial. Divorce is a stressful, expensive and time consuming process. There is certainly a value to be placed on putting an end to the divorce process early through mediation rather than continuing to go through litigation. Also, mediation is an opportunity to have some control over the outcome of your divorce. When you go to trial, you risk the uncertainty that a judge might make an unfavorable decision.
Of course, settlement is not a feasible solution in all cases. However, even in the most bitter divorce cases, it is still a good idea to attempt mediation. The mediator is there only to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. The mediator will not make a decision in your case, so there is no risk involved in attempting mediation. Mediation might not always work, but it is almost never a waste of time to mediate your divorce case.