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Mediation is a non-adversarial alternative to litigation whereby the parties work together, with the help of a neutral, third party mediator. Mediation can occur at any time in the litigation process, including prior to any documents ever having been filed with the court, including a petition for divorce. A successful pre-filing mediation can have the terms of a divorce resolved prior to either party initiating a divorce lawsuit. The attorneys at Stucky, Lauer & Young, LLP have developed outstanding reputations for facilitating settlement in family law and domestic relations matters through mediation at all stages. Our office provides for privacy, comfort, and confidentiality during the process. The overwhelming majority of cases that are resolved through mediation find resolution through a single mediation conference, although our mediators are always willing to mediate in separated sessions if the circumstances so warrant.
The process takes place in our office with the parties placed in separate rooms. In some instances, there may be times when a party needs to be heard by the other, and when appropriate, that individual will be given the opportunity. Generally, however, the parties will remain separated so that the mediator can work with them individually to identify each party's specific issues, goals, and ideas for resolution. Everything discussed with the mediator is completely confidential and will never be disclosed to the other party without permission. This gives each person the security and assurance to disclose information they feel may be necessary to the mediator, but would not want to be revealed to the other party. This kind of confidentiality also leads to creative brainstorming and powerful ideas that can be used toward resolution. The mediator will draft all necessary settlement documents for signing and filing with the court.
Your mediator does not decide the outcome of the dispute; he or she simply assists the parties in reaching their own mutually acceptable resolution. Conduct or statements made while negotiating or attempting to resolve issues at mediation are confidential and not admissible in court, so you never have to worry about the statements made or offers tendered in mediation to prejudice you going forward. Mediators are not permitted to testify about matters discussed at mediation.
Invariably, the biggest stressor on parties amidst litigation is the lack of control over the process and outcome. At mediation, the parties retain control of the decision-making process and are afforded the opportunity to determine the outcome of their dispute, rather than leaving important decisions affecting their lives to a judge. Mediation can result in quicker dispute resolution since mediation occurs at the parties’ and mediator’s convenience, as opposed to the judicial calendar, which is often backlogged for many months. Because much of the necessary exchange of information between the parties can occur at mediation as opposed to gathering the same through time-consuming and costly formal means of discovery, mediation tends also to be less expensive than litigating a dispute through a court proceeding.
Whether your legal issue involves divorce, child custody, parenting time, or a financially-driven matter, our mediators are dedicated to the highest standards of service, ethics, and creativity, as they help you work toward a favorable arrangement going forward.