“The traditional adversarial divorcing process is much like riding a bull in an earthquake.
It is not so much the bull that is the problem, often it is the terrain.”
– Judge Michele Lowrance (Ret.)
What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete results. Typically, the mediator assists the parties to negotiate a settlement. Mediation allows the involved parties to discuss many details of the issues in question, which often may not be available in court.
What is the mediation process like when working with Judge Michele Lowrance (Ret.)?
Judge Lowrance’s goal is to help the parties come to an agreement they can live with, not impose her opinion or will on the situation. She provides a personalized approach and helps parties solve problems together, but the ultimate authority belongs to the parties. Mediation is completely confidential, so the most personal matters may be freely discussed without fear that any information will be disclosed or part of the public record.
The parties create their own agreement and emotionally invest in its success and are, therefore, more likely to support the agreement and are not bound by the rules of procedure or law. Judge Lowrance supports any form of settlement, facilitation, or advocacy where people can participate in the decision making process that considers the uniqueness of their families.
Her approach to the mediation process is to help the parties prevent a legal problem from getting worse or even possibly avoiding one all together and usually removing the situation from the court system. Below are the high-level steps one can expect to experience when working with Judge Lowrance:
- Often the first step is that Judge Lowrance and the involved parties will meet to explain the process and set goals for the mediation. When all parties meet together*, Judge Lowrance will not ask any questions that put the parties on the spot or create any pressure to make decisions at that time.
- Next, she will meet with each party separately, often with their respective lawyers, so each side may talk about their concerns with complete confidentiality so nothing said can be used in court or told to the other spouse. Each side will have their own room and there will be a third room where we might all meet together at time if everyone, and only if everyone agrees to do so.
- Offers and counter offers will be made by each side and delivered by Judge Lowrance to each respective side. Together, Judge Lowrance and the parties will analyze the offers and then, in private, each side will work through their response with Judge Lowrance and she will deliver the response to the other side. This process will continue until either an agreement is reached or both parties agree to disagree and either receive more information, think further about counter proposals and discuss if it is necessary to come back another day.
*Meeting together is not mandatory. Judge Lowrance can meet with each party individually in separate rooms.