If you are reading this page it likely means that your significant other has contacted Make It Happen Law to discuss the possibility of mediating some sort of family law issue with you.
We completely understand that this may have come as a shock and that you may feel angry or frustrated. Those are reasonable feelings given the situation. However, if you stop and consider the situation in an odd way your significant other is actually paying you a compliment. S/he feels that they do not want to drag everything through a hostile, aggressive and overly expensive court battle. They want to work with you to come to an agreement that is fair to both of you!
I highly recommend you read my section on what is mediation and how is it different than traditional court. One of the most common questions I am asked by people in your position is what have you already talked about with my significant other? It is critical that you understand that as of right now I have NOT been hired by the other party and I am not “their lawyer.” While I am a licensed attorney in the State of Wisconsin I am also a certified mediator. The major difference is that if someone hires me as their attorney then I represent them to the best of my abilities and I advocate solely for their interests. However, if I am hired as a mediator I do not represent either of you. That means that I can not give specific legal advice to either of you that would in some way give either person an advantage over the other person.
When a new person contacts me I always explain that I work both as a traditional attorney and as a mediator. The first meeting that I have with them, whether it be over the phone or in person, is very brief for the sole purpose of making sure that I do not create an attorney/client relationship. If during that meeting the person indicates that they would like to try mediation I stop the meeting right away and inform them that the next step is to reach out to the other party and get him/her involved. That is why you are reading this page right now. At this point you have a few options.
You ALWAYS have a right to hire your own attorney. Whether you proceed with mediation or decide to go down a traditional court process you should always consider hiring a licensed attorney to help you navigate the complicated waters of the family law process. Many people decide not to hire an attorney and that is ok. However, it is important that you know that at any point during the process you can as I will NOT be representing either party as his/her attorney.
You can decide that mediation might be a good option for you. In that case we can set up a meeting to discuss the process further and what the costs associated with it are. Ideally, this meeting would be attended by both of you. This surprises many people and concerns them. The reasoning behind this is that my goal is to reduce conflict and work towards a solution. One of the best ways to foster this is to have some degree of trust. Meeting as a group is the only way to guarantee that you both know that I am telling each the exact same thing. However, if, for whatever reason, meeting as a group is not possible then we will set up individual meetings to talk about your specific questions and concerns about the process and what Make It Happen Law can do to help solve your problems. Remember, going to mediation is not a final choice. You can always try mediation and if it fails you can decide to escalate things and go down a traditional contested court pathway.
You are also totally within your rights to reject the offer of mediation. Fighting through a traditional contested court process is always an option. It will take far more time and cost you dramatically more money but it is an option. In the event that you reject mediation the other party may decide to hire me to represent them as their attorney. Once I begin representing someone as their attorney I can not go back to being a mediator in the case as it would be impossible to stay neutral.