Another post about mediation, probably becauseI am so enamored of it. In Maricopa County, divorcing parties are requried to attend what is called “ADR” or Alternative Dispute Resolution, before they go to a final trial. This is a free service offered by the Court. The problem with the free ADR offered by the Court is that the mediator is only required to set the ADR for three hours. Unfortunately, most cases cannot be resolved in that short of a period of time. After years and years of mediation (about twenty to be exact), I find that the momentum to settle builds after the 4th or 5th hour. The first hours are usually spent exploring issues and airing grievances; once the parties feel they have been “heard,” they are much more likely to reach a mediated agreement. Divorce is an emotional process that requires time, even in mediation. What I have been doing lately is asking the free ADR mediator appointed in a specific case to “go on the clock” at the conclusion of the free mediation period, if we are making progress. My clients save money, they have received the first hours of mediation for free, and they get the time needed to fully settle their case.
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