Our Approach as Fort Wayne Divorce Mediation Lawyers
Constructively resolving domestic relations issues
As budget issues and overfilled dockets continue to spike both the cost and time commitment required for divorce and family law litigation, mediation has become an increasingly attractive option for those matters. At Shilts & Setlak, LLC, we long ago recognized and promoted the advantages of mediation in divorce and family law. Our team continues to recommend this approach to our clients throughout the Fort Wayne area. While we understand that mediation may not be appropriate in all cases — and we remain prepared to litigate when necessary — we believe it offers many divorcing spouses the most amicable and least stressful way to end their marriage and move on to a new beginning.
What is mediation?
Mediation is essentially a controlled negotiation under the guidance of a trained and registered mediator, such as Attorney Perry Shilts or Attorney Michael A. Setlak, a mediator does not decide any issue or force any resolution upon the parties. Instead, over the course of one or more sessions, the mediator facilitates discussion and helps the parties identify the issues they need to resolve, the points important to them, and the areas of common ground they can build upon. If all goes as planned, mediation ends with a divorce or child custody settlement acceptable to both parties. The mediated settlement agreement is then submitted to the court for approval and adoption. Mediation provides several distinct benefits over traditional litigation:
- Brevity — Mediation minimizes court involvement and allows the parties to work out most of the details on their own schedules. Once the parties have settled issues on their own, they can usually receive a final divorce decree in as little as 60 days.
- Cost — By avoiding the need for motions, multiple court appearances, and competing experts, mediation significantly decreases both court costs and attorney fees for both parties.
- Discretion — Unlike court proceedings, which are public record, what occurs in mediation is strictly confidential and limited to those directly involved in the mediation process.
- Flexibility — Mediation allows the parties to reach a mediated agreement that actually works for them — in stark contrast to litigated resolutions that often leave both parties dissatisfied.
Early option mediation
Many of the issues in divorce and family law can be resolved before the court ever becomes involved. Early option mediation allows the parties to achieve mediated agreements before filing a divorce or custody petition. While some court involvement is still necessary, early option mediation reduces the necessary court process to an absolute minimum, with the court needing only to approve the agreement and enter an appropriate decree or order.
Indiana law requires courts to consider the propriety of mediation in every divorce, child custody, parenting time, and child support case before them. If the court determines mediation is appropriate, the parties must complete mediation within 60 days unless the court allows an extension. Parties interested in this process can elect early option mediation and have no reason to wait for the court to order it. However, if the court does order mediation, the parties should approach the process in good faith and make every effort to reach a mediated settlement.
Contact experienced Fort Wayne mediation attorneys
Mediation is a valuable tool that offers advantages in all but the most difficult cases. Because our Fort Wayne law firm is committed to helping our clients resolve domestic issues in the most efficient and mutually beneficial way possible, we at Shilts & Setlak, LLC are happy to receive clients who are interested in this pragmatic and dynamic means of dispute resolution. If you are considering divorce or are concerned about a child custody or support conflict and would like to learn more about what mediation has to offer, call our office at 260-489-0700 or contact us online today. We are conveniently located in suburban Fort Wayne and offer competitive rates and an initial consultation for only a nominal fee.