Minneapolis Mediation Lawyer
Working Toward a Fair & Equitable Divorce Settlement in the Twin Cities
Mediation is a very important part of family law and is required in almost all cases. Some 95% of divorce cases settle before trial, often through mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution. Brian of Sobol Family Law has participated in literally all forms of mediation over his career, participating in hundreds of mediations and successfully resolving a large percentage of his cases for his clients prior to trial, saving them the emotions, expense, and uncertainty of an expensive contested trial. Key to successful mediation is having complete financial information about your marital estate and having a clear strategy and realistic goals when approaching your mediation.
Brian is also a trained mediator, having completed mediation training through Hamline University in 1996 and more recently, in the summer of 2022 having completed advanced mediation training through the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, who have now certified him as an AAML certified mediator.
Contact Brian today to discuss how mediation will be applied in your divorce case or to discuss having a knowledgeable mediation attorney in Minneapolis serve as a neutral mediator in your matter.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Minnesota Court Rules require that in almost all family law cases, at least initial proceedings, involve the use of some type of ADR— Alternative Dispute Resolution. The various ADR methods are an alternative to traditional litigation, where all disputed issues are decided by a judicial officer.
What Does Mediation Look Like?
Mediation is the most common ADR process used in family law cases. Mediation is a process whereby the parties meet with a neutral third party who works with them to reach agreements on the issues in their case. The mediator does not provide legal advice. The mediator has no power to make decisions, or to force the parties to make concessions.
The mediator does not make decisions, but rather facilitates a discussion between the parties (sometimes alone and sometimes with the assistance of counsel) aimed at reaching a settlement of your issues. While the mediator as a general rule cannot provide their opinion of the outcome, on occasion, you may expand by agreement the power of your mediator to express their opinion as to any issue in your matter. The mediation process is confidential, and if you are not successful in reaching a mediated settlement, the judicial officer will never learn what positions either party took in mediation. As part of the mediation process, the mediator will request both parties provide an accurate summary of income, assets, and liabilities. It is recognized that sometimes, one party controls some or all of this information, and skilled mediators attempt to assure that there is a full and fair disclosure of financial information and a full and fair discussion of the issues.
There are many different forms your mediation can take, based on agreements both parties reach as to the role of the mediator, which in some cases can be expanded to allow the mediator to evaluate your case and express their opinion as to a likely outcome if the case were to go to trial. In child-inclusive mediation, a third party, usually a psychologist will meet with your children to discuss parenting time with them, and the psychologist will then participate in the mediation to provide the child’s perspective as to the parenting plans being negotiated.
Brian is experienced in working with his clients through the mediation process. Mediation is most effective when the parties and attorneys are well prepared, and when they approach the process with settlement as their goal. Each party must make a full disclosure of their assets, income, and future plans for the children in advance of a mediation session. Brian will prepare you for effective participation in the mediation process or may be retained to act as your neutral mediator, to help facilitate the settlement of your case.
Early Neutral Evaluations & Moderated Settlement Conferences
An “Early Neutral Evaluation” or “Moderated Settlement Conference” is a hybrid of the mediation and arbitration process. The parties and their attorneys agree to meet with one or more qualified individuals/experts to present them with their arguments on the merits of their respective positions in the case. The expert(s) then advise the parties and their attorneys how they might decide the issue based on the information provided to them if they were the decision maker in their case. The parties and attorneys then attempt to mediate the disputed issues with the assistance of the experts and in reliance on their opinion as to how the disputed issue would be resolved were they to go to trial. These ENEs have been especially successful in resolving custody disputes early in the process to shield your children from the emotions and costs caused by protracted custody battles.
“Brian was tenacious in helping me protect my children and was able to uncover our finances to allow us to ultimately reach a fair division of our property and a fair award of support for me and my children.”- Megan C.
“His work is nothing but extraordinary. What he did for my friend was impossible to even think could be done. Brian did what he would do for his own family.”- Yelena B.
“His knowledge in a variety of legal aspects is unparalleled. We feel fortunate to have his representation.”- Jeff
“He made the process of the ordeal as good as it could have been, including the outcome. I would recommend Brian to anyone, who wants an exceptional professional and advocate to represent them in a legal matter.”- Former Client
“After Brian negotiated my divorce settlement, my ex-husband, surprisingly, delivered the highest compliment, stating "Brian was brilliant."”- Barbara
“During the past three years Brian helped me through a bitterly contested family law matter.”- David
“Brian Sobol is methodical in his approach. It takes a long time to move through the family court process but I can sit back now and relax. A highly skilled professional will argue the law and fight for me to see my kids.”- Julie M.
“I know I won't have need of for Mr. Sobol again. If I did though...Brian Sobol would be the person I would have defend me!”- Tammy G.
While Mediators have no decision-making authority, you can elect (or a court may order) an Arbitrator or a Consensual Special Master (also known as a “CSM”) to be the decision maker in your case rather than the judicial officer assigned to you. An arbitrator or CSM can be appointed to make a decision on limited issues, such as the division of personal property, or on all the issues in the dissolution proceeding. The costs of the Arbitrator or CSM are paid by the parties.
Arbitrators and CSMs are typically attorneys or retired judges with many years of experience in the area of family law. They are most often used in cases involving complex financial issues. Their knowledge of the law and issues in family law cases makes them appropriate decision-makers. The dedicated Minneapolis mediation lawyer at Sobol Family Law has settled and tried many cases before CSMs and can advise you as to the most qualified individuals to hear your case.