Bankruptcy is meant to be a controlled process. The debtor files for bankruptcy protection and alerts his creditors. The creditors submit claims and the bankruptcy court discharges with the assets and debts. Unfortunately, the reality is much more contentious. To address the rising cost of bankruptcy litigation, some courts are embracing mediation as an alternative to the traditional bankruptcy process.
Mediation allows parties to settle their differences, but the judge retains ultimate control. The judge may suspend mediation and move on with litigation or enable the process to continue. There is no set limit on when a mediation should end; it ends when the parties reach an agreement or an insurmountable impasse.
Generally speaking, mediation is ordered by the courts, but the parties can agree to it as well. If you are seeking a mediated bankruptcy process, you may want to consider a former judge or attorney. Regardless of who you pick, remember mediation only works as well as you want it to. Both parties need to choose to compromise. The mediator can help guide the parties together, but he cannot force anyone into a settlement.
But bear in mind that mediation can settle some matters. It is often far cheaper to settle non-contentious matters through mediation rather than litigation.
Bankruptcy is not the end; it is the beginning. Bankruptcy allows you to move past your debts and start your life over. If you are considering bankruptcy, then you may want to speak with a lawyer. You can talk to the attorney about the various bankruptcy options, including mediated bankruptcy. You can seek the assistance of a mediator even if you are represented by a lawyer.