Mediation is an excellent opportunity for couples interested in minimizing the stress and animosity associated with a divorce. For couples who are interested, Nicholas LaFountain offers mediation services in divorce and other family law cases. He was trained as a mediator before practicing law, and he has practiced divorce and family law for many years as an attorney. As an attorney, he has successfully negotiated countless settlements, participated in mediations and conciliations directly, and he has also worked as mediation side counsel (when a party mediates and has outside counsel whom they meet within between mediation sessions). To further advance his alternative dispute resolution skills, he was subsequently trained in conciliation for divorce and family law cases. He now offers mediation services, where he can use his training, education, and experience to help couples resolve matters in a confidential and more amicable setting than a courtroom.
Even with skilled counsel at your side, litigating a divorce in court can be a lengthy, public, and stressful process. For couples willing to work together, mediation is a form of confidential alternative dispute resolution that can help them reach an agreement they are both satisfied with, on a timeframe they determine, and with less animosity and stress than fighting in a courtroom before a judge.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process in which the mediator’s role is to try helping the participants identify and discuss the issues of concern in an impartial manner, explore various solutions, and try assisting the participants to develop a settlement that is mutually acceptable to the participants. The mediator will not decide the outcome of the case, nor any part thereof, like a judge or arbitrator, would. The mediator will not force or compel any participant to reach an agreement, nor determine guilt or innocence. It is the participants and only the participants who will make the decisions regarding the resolution of their disputes.
What Are Some Differences Between Hiring a Mediator Instead of a Lawyer?
Again, the mediator’s role is to help guide the parties working towards an agreement, as opposed to a judge or arbitrator who makes the final decisions for parties. Another important distinction is between the role of mediator and attorney. A hallmark of mediation is neutrality, and a hallmark of legal representation is zealous advocacy. A mediator cannot remain neutral while providing zealous advocacy, so it is important to note that by hiring a mediator, you are NOT hiring legal counsel to represent you even if the mediator is also an attorney. A mediator may provide input based on their experience and knowledge to help guide the discussions. However, the mediator will not give either party legal advice. Although Nicholas LaFountain is an experienced divorce lawyer, in the context of a mediation, he does not represent either party as counsel (nor does he represent both parties as counsel). He instead remains neutral, and the parties are encouraged to obtain any needed legal advice and review any agreement they are contemplating, with independent counsel.