The primary reason I've chosen mediation at this point in my professional life is that I believe that our family court systems are badly under-resourced. This is not a criticism of the people who work within these systems but more a reflection of an emerging set of priorities within the state governments of New Hampshire and Vermont. The upshot of this broken system is very long waiting periods at precisely the time when couples want and need closure. Additionally the system is so overburdened that contested cases typically result in settlements in which property is liquidated and parties walk away with very little of what they wanted. By contrast mediation is proactive and it represents and opportunity for parties to craft a settlement that best fits their shared priorities, their individual priorities and family needs. Studies have shown that these settlements are more durable in the sense that they rarely end up back in court to be re-contested. More importantly other studies have shown that mediated settlements produce more productive and amicable co-parenting relationships. The bottom line is that the litigated path is takes longer, costs much more and produces less efficient and more acrimonious settlements....in other words you will spend more time, and more money for less control over the outcome and greater difficulty moving forward with shared parenting rights and responsibilities.
I personally believe that even under very difficult and adversarial conditions conflicts can be constructively resolved via a facilitated discussion between parties. It is not a perfect system and it will not work in all cases but the odds of a favorable outcome are far greater than in the courtroom. My goal is to help people get to those agreements.