You decide what "right" looks like
We’ve all had to deal with interpersonal conflict at some point in our life: a bad break-up, a divorce, a workplace dispute, or a conflict with a roommate, neighbor, or classmate. It was a really tough time, wasn’t it? Or perhaps you are experiencing it now and you just want the situation to end and/or improve. It is difficult to focus on anything else and perhaps you’re feeling stressed out, anxious, trapped, and stuck. Ugh. I’ve been there.
This is when a mediator can help, especially if anger is the primary emotion for you or your ex-husband/friend/co-worker, etc. Why? Well my friends, anger is a strange beast. It can trick you into thinking that your best bet is to sue and experience your own “Law & Order” moment where you get to tell the judge how terribly you’ve been treated. However, the reality is that it never works out that way in real life, especially if you have children. Litigation is lengthy, expensive, bitter, and public. You have little control over the outcome because a settlement is imposed upon you by a judge or an arbitrator. You don’t get a choice in the matter. If you don’t like how it all turns out in court, there is very little (and sometimes nothing) you can do. This is why mediation is a much better alternative than litigation - you get to decide what right looks like. Does a judge or attorneys know what what’s best for you (and your child(ren))? Nope. They didn’t know best for me either. I chose mediation for my own divorce/custody issues years ago and I have never regretted it. In fact, I became such an advocate for #mediationoverlitigation that I became a mediator myself to help other families and individuals resolve their conflicts and move forward in peace -- while maintaining control of the outcome.
Mediation is highly-personalized, private, caring -- oh, and it costs significantly less than going to court. You get to negotiate your own agreement with the help of a trained, highly-skilled mediator who is bound by a State Code of Ethics (Virginia, in my case). As a mediator, I act as a facilitator - not an advocate, judge, or therapist. I am required to maintain complete neutrality and use my skills to help you solve your own problems. I assist you in identifying the issues, explore alternatives, and help you reach voluntary agreements confidentially. I also draft the settlement agreements, custody and property settlement agreements, and memorandums of understanding for signature that may become legally binding.
By the way, perhaps you’re thinking that it is too late because you’re already litigating. Guess what? It’s never too late to hire a mediator. In fact, most of the individuals that I work with are feeling emotionally and financially drained and need the process to speed up or become “unstuck” without going back and forth between your attorney and the opposing counsel. I work with individuals (and their counsel as needed) at every phase of litigation. I also provide pre-litigation consultations. Bonus: the fees are typically shared equally among the parties.
About the Author:
Erin Fisher is a certified mediator and founder of Atlantic Mediation Services, entrepreneur, and consultant. She was recently named to the Leadership Council of the National Small Business Association. She received an executive certification in negotiation and conflict resolution from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza School of Business and her undergraduate degree in communication from West Virginia University. Ms. Fisher was inspired by her own experiences in family mediation and works with private clients to identify and reconcile competing interests related to property distribution, custody plans, and visitation. Relying on nearly two decades supporting the Department of State, Ms. Fisher works with clients to establish peace in the workplace. She traveled extensively overseas and provided conflict resolution and mediation services related to contracts, employee dynamics, change management, and more by remaining open-minded, neutral, and unbiased to differences.