Family Law Mediation
Family Law Mediation
There are many reasons to consider mediation when encountered with a
divorce situation. Compared to traditional litigation, Mediation is fast,
confidential, fair, and more cost effective. In contrast, lawsuits can sometimes
take many months, or even years, to resolve which tends to be extremely
stressful and emotionally draining. The number of mediation sessions varies
depending on each individual case, but the main goal of these sessions is to
create a parenting plan that serves in the best interest of the children. If no
agreement is reached over the course of the mediation process, and it appears
that further sessions will not be productive, the case is likely to be referred
back to the court for a hearing wherein the judge makes a decision regarding
the most appropriate parenting plan.
The common goals of family law mediation include:
- Assisting parties in maintaining a smooth transition throughout the
marital separation process,
- Assisting clients in overcoming the emotional and legal obstacles they
may encounter during divorce, including those involving child custody,
visitation, division of assets, support payments, relocation and devising
an appropriate parenting plan,
- Improving the family structure and dynamics through appropriate
- Serving as a neutral third-party between the parties and the legal
system by preparing and filing all necessary judicial paperwork.
Child Custody Mediation at Family Court Services
Mediation allows for parents to have the opportunity of creating a
parenting plan for the care of their children after separation. A parenting
plan contains decisions made by the parents or the court about the living
arrangements and other regular contact that the children will have with
their parents after the divorce.
Throughout the mediation process, the following procedures may
typically take place:
Parties are asked to completely fill-out and sign an information
form with honesty, accuracy and integrity. The information form may be
obtained and completed prior to the initial mediation appointment. The
mediator reviews this form to obtain basic information about each
The mediator has the option of meeting with the parties together
and/or individually. In domestic violence cases, individual sessions may
be the most appropriate approach. The mediators will ask questions in
an attempt to learn and understand the family history.
The mediator and both parties will determine the issues that need
to be resolved. When appropriate, the mediator will assist the parties in
an effort to set aside their individual disputes and focus their energy and
attention on developing arrangements that are in the best interest of the
Mediators share information on the basic and developmental needs
of the children. Parties are able to address issues including parenting
plans including holiday and vacation schedules, legal custody,
transportation and a variety of other important areas that address the
needs of the children.
Parties are encouraged to consider all options and solutions
presented during mediation.
If there is a child custody dispute between the two parents,
mediation is mandatory. If there is any kind of contested issue regarding
children, the opposing parties are required to attempt to resolve their
issues through mediation before seeking court intervention. Although an
attempted agreement through mediation is required, reaching an
agreement is not.
In some jurisdictions, there are recommending mediators, and in others
there are not. Contact a competent family law attorney to educate
yourself in regards to the strengths and pitfalls, and how to prepare for
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