Monday, July 12, 2010, 08:33 PM
Posted by Administrator
Hereabouts, in beautiful Palm Beach County, Florida, if you want a divorce you've got to try to settle your case...and fail.. , before a judge will let you go to trial. It would be flippant of me to say that judges have golf to play or lego forts to build or whatever it is judges do in their spare time and that they don't much want to hear your case...unless they absolutely have to. And I am not a flippant man.

One of the things you've got to do is you've got to go to mediation before you can have your trial. Here is how it works:

1) Everyone sits in a room at a long table.
2) The mediator sits at the head of the table.
4) The husband and his lawyer sit on one side...his lawyer next to the mediator.
5) The wife and her lawyer sit across from them.
6) The mediator gives a little speech about how everything said in mediation is confidential; how he/she is not a judge and can't decide the case or offer legal advice even though he/she has tons of experience in exactly this kind of case; how each of the parties have wonderful lawyers.
7) The lawyers, in turn, give a little speech about the issues.
8) After messing around for a while, face to face a la THE WEDDING CRASHERS or (for the oldest among us) LA Law, one party stays in the room and the other party retires to another room.
9) The mediator shuttles back and forth between the two rooms, communicating offers, telling stories, killing time.
9a) While the mediator is with the other side...and this could be forty minutes at a stretch...my client and I have got to entertain each other. A moment of strategy. A brief talk about the law. And then? I can do TV shows, movies and things-I-did-as-a-kid-that-didn't-land-me-in-jail. What have you got?
10) The parties settle...or not.
11) If the parties don't settle, (at least) one of the lawyers says to his/her client "Remember, you can always settle---all you have to do is give them everything they want."
12) The mediator gets paid.
13) Everyone leaves.

I have written previously about other mediation related topics:
A) The longer you spend trying to settle the case, the lower your blood sugar gets, the more you bond with the mediator and don't want them to leave without getting the case settled. So, the longer you stay, the greater the chance you will settle.
B) If you absolutely don't want to go to trial then you absolutely must settle. If the other side knows this absolute then you will have to give in to what they want.
C) Every big decision involves a moment of insanity. The next day...when logic sets in...you will regret what you agreed to. This is normal. Reality is that you were right to take the deal...and wrong to think too much about it afterward.
D) When in doubt: mumble.
E) Don't commit until it is time to commit.
F) Don't respond to stupid offers---pretend that stupid offers never were made...ignore them and move on.
G) Remember, the other side can always settle the case anytime they want. All they have to do is........whatever YOU say.

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