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When you are facing a legal issue within your family, you may be thinking about going to court to protect your best interests and those of your loved ones. However, you do not always have to resort to litigation. Methods called Alternative Dispute Resolutions, or ADRs for short, are a positive alternative to going before a judge. And one of the most popular and most effective of these alternative methods is mediation.

You’ll want to consider mediation if you are involved in a conflict such as divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, and estate disputes. Talk to us at Shea Kohl Law if you would like to see how mediation can help resolve your dispute, or if you are looking for an experienced and reliable mediator in St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding counties.

What Is Mediation? Definition And Benefits

Mediation is an out-of-court process where two disputing parties try to agree on a fair resolution to their conflict, with the help of a neutral third-party called the mediator. The process typically consists of a few sessions where the mediator facilitates the participants’ discussion and helps them communicate constructively. Once they arrive at an agreement, they can present it to the court to turn it into an official decree.

Mediation is a voluntary process, but in some cases, a court may require parties to mediate before starting litigation or trial. This is because mediation is known to be a highly effective method of conflict resolution, and many families or couples who have tried it did not have to go into the courtroom at all. Some estimates say that as many as 85 percent of all mediated cases in America are resolved.

There are more benefits to mediation over a litigated family case:

  • The process is smoother and less stressful. Courtroom litigation is often where each party sees the other as an opponent. But in mediation, the goal is to find common ground in a civil and levelheaded manner. This helps avoid emotionally-charged bickering, allowing for an easier and more practical resolution.
  •  It saves time and money. A litigated case is usually lengthy and riddled with delays. The longer the case takes, the higher costs pile up, such as court fees and lawyer fees. On the other hand, a mediated case has a good chance of being resolved much faster, and the only costs involved are small mediator fees.
  • The outcomes are more amicable. Because of the calm approach in mediation, the agreements that come out of it are typically considered fair for all concerned. Also, mediation participants often conclude the process with reduced feelings of hostility towards each other.
  • Participants are in control. In court litigation, a judge decides for the disputing parties. In mediation, both parties make the decisions together, which is normally ideal since they are the ones who know the circumstances best and who will have to live with the decisions.
  • It minimizes distress for loved ones. This is especially important for couples who have kids. Mediation is preferred over litigation for cases like divorce and child custody, because the peaceful, amicable method helps reduce the negative impact of the case on children.

With these significant benefits, you may find that mediation is an excellent option for your family law issue. Note, however, that there are cases where mediation is not appropriate, such as in cases where abuse is involved, or where there is a significant imbalance of power between the two parties.

If you want to determine whether mediation is right for your situation, don’t hesitate to discuss it with an attorney. You can have a free initial consultation with us at Shea Kohl Law.

Picking the Right Mediator Matters

While the decision-making is entirely up to the two participants in mediation, the role of the neutral mediator is also crucial. You can imagine how challenging it is to ‘referee’ two opposing parties in a legal conflict, especially in cases such as divorce where so much of their life and finances are at stake. Emotions can run high, the balance between the parties can be fragile, and the legal maze around them may be complicated. This is why it is important to choose a mediator wisely.

About Mediator Michael Shea

Michael Shea from Shea Kohl Law is not only an experienced family law attorney but he’s also a Senior Mediator and is a registered family law mediator for St. Charles County. He brings his 40+ years of experience in family law cases to bear and he understands the complex and delicate dynamics of even the most contentious family disputes. His peers in court have elected him for many years as a St. Charles Family Court Special Master, an authority that makes prompt recommendations in high-conflict cases. You and the other party can choose a mediator together, and you can trust Mr. Shea to be the best kind of mediator.

Michael Shea trained under acclaimed “Divorce Whisperer”, Attorney Marta Papa and over the years, has himself become noted for his skilled negotiations and wise guidance as a mediator, enabling Saint Charles County families to settle favorably out of court.

Because of his experience, Mr. Shea can facilitate your mediation with efficiency and valuable insight. He can skillfully encourage positive communication between you and the other party, and can guide both of you in creative approaches to resolution. Most of all, he understands the sensitive aspects of your dispute – be it your marital relationship, your financial circumstances, or your children – and he can delicately help you navigate these in legal terms.

Contact Us Today

If you are considering mediation for your Saint Charles County family law issue, don’t hesitate to talk to us at Shea Kohl Law today by calling (636) 946-9999.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.