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Happy Mediation Settlement DayMany states have a clause under their divorce laws that specifically state that mediation is mandatory before a party decides to completely dissolve their marriage. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, or the practice of resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects. Typically, a third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate a settlement of some kind on a given issue.

The state of New York is one of those states that has implemented mandatory mediation before finalizing a divorce. To celebrate the institution of mediation, the great state of New York has decided to create even more awareness of this practice by naming October 18th “Mediation Settlement Day.”

More on the Festivities
Mediation Settlement Day is organized by a coalition of mediation providers with the objective of raising awareness about the many benefits of mediation and the wealth of available resources. On Mediation Settlement Day, organizations conduct special programs designed to promote mediation and to educate potential parties and attorneys about the mediation process. Creating a buzz about the event and the entire mediation process is the main goal.

What Does the Day Entail?
A Kick-Off Celebration Event was held on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at the New York City Bar Association, officially starting the celebration day events. There was also an Open House, in which representatives of the participating organization provided mediation information to all those attending. A Panel Discussion, a keynote presentation, and an awards ceremony for the Mediation Settlement Day Frontline Champion was held. The Frontline Champion Award recognizes individuals who have made a meaningful impact on the field of mediation, or helped others through their commitment to the effective practice of mediation.

Benefits of Mediation
Besides gaining peace of mind for both parties, mediation is beneficial for a plethora of reasons. In mediation, both of the parties decide for themselves what is best for their situation, allowing them to create reasonable solutions that are tailored to their unique situation. Having privacy is usually important to everyone involved in divorce. When both parties meet with the mediator in a private, comfortable setting that encourages a collaborative, non-adversarial experience, it makes the affair less public and far more comfortable all around. Because the approach is collaborative rather than adversarial, mediation allows for a result that satisfies both parties’ needs without pitting one against the other.

One of the major reasons for this type of practice prior to dissolution is due to finances. Mediation is much less expensive than litigation, plain and simple. The savings result from direct communication and voluntary full disclosure among the parties and the mediator, without depositions, court conferences, motions, or other procedural steps that require many hours of work by each party’s attorney. In addition to resolving the issues being faced, mediation aims to create a new dynamic that improves future interactions between both parties, and often times can result in reconciliation. This can be particularly valuable for couples with children.

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