Mr. Bishop provides different approaches to mediation depending upon the individuals and their circumstances. Initially, he generally applies a “facilitative” approach during which time he explores with the parties’ various options with the hope that the parties can decide together what agreements make the best sense for themselves and their children. At some point, however, it may be necessary to apply a more “evaluative approach” wherein Mr. Bishop can provide expert feedback regarding Arizona law on the various issues and what a Court may do under a specific set of circumstances. Under any scenario, Mr. Bishop will present alternate solutions that neither party may have thought of. Many mediators are only qualified to provide for facilitative mediation – i.e. they are not qualified to provide evaluative feedback. Some mediators rush immediately to the evaluative model without getting the know the issues and facts in enough detail – thus losing the confidence of one or both clients. Some mediators claim to know what the court may do under the circumstances but have little experience or knowledge upon which to base his or her opinions.
On some occasions, a party to a mediation may feel that he or she was ganged up on or that the mediator took sides. A party should never feel overly pressured to agree to terms. Mediation often requires encouragement so that the parties can fully understand how the proposed terms might be in their best interests. However, a party should never feel “beat up” or unduly pressured after participating in mediation. Unfortunately, this is the case far too often.
Mr. Bishop has absolutely no legal biases entering mediation. There is no favoritism toward husbands, wives, mothers or fathers. If there are children involved, the children’s best interests are a paramount concern. It is our goal that the parties leave mediation feeling like they were heard, understood, and that we did everything we could to make the mediation a pleasant and productive experience.
It goes without saying that mediation is a wonderful alternative to litigation. However, for mediation to be truly successful each party needs to have equal say and power. This means that a party with a more forceful personality does not have the advantage over the less forceful or less knowledgeable party. It is important that all important facts are known before the mediation, or that such facts can be acquired during the mediation. There needs to be as level of a playing field as possible. The mediator should do more than just be a messenger between the parties of threats or hard-handed negotiation tactics. A good mediator should strive to make sure the parties are on as level of a playing field as possible.