In divorce and family law cases, the terms mediation and settlement facilitation are often used interchangeably. Though the goals of each are the same, they are actually very different. In most cases, what is referred to as mediation in divorce cases is in actuality settlement facilitation which will be addressed here.
Settlement facilitation is typically very beneficial to the parties in a divorce. If at all possible, the parties are well advised to go to settlement facilitation as quickly as possible in the divorce process. Early settlement will avoid potentially costly, stressful and protracted litigation. In fact, most family law courts require an attempt at settlement facilitation prior to a trial of the case.
The process is pretty straightforward. The parties must agree upon a facilitator. In the absence of an agreement, the court will appoint one. There is a great deal of preparation needed for a successful settlement facilitation. The facilitation itself usually last 4 to 8 hours depending on the complexity of the case. Failure to prepare or to select a qualified facilitator can result in lengthening the time needed and often will cause the facilitation to fail.
Though the parties do not need representation at a settlement facilitation, in cases with significant issues, each would should seek the assistance of a New Mexico Divorce Attorney. Failure to full understand and prepare for the process would set the parties back significantly in terms of time and expense. Worst case, the parties can enter the facilitation in the spirit of cooperation and leave with a high conflict divorce on their hands.