Family Law Mediation for Separation, Divorce and Custody
If your life is changing because you are separating or going through child custody changes, what choices do you have to get your alimony in place or to keep your retirement? Do you have to go to court? Maybe not!
One of the alternatives to litigation is mediation, which can resolve your family issues such as custody, financial support, and property division. At Triangle Divorce Lawyers, our skilled, trained, and experienced mediators can help your family make the decisions that you all feel are best for you.
The mediator will meet with both of you either in one long session or in a few smaller sessions, based upon your preference and the complexity of the discussions.
What are the benefits of mediation?
How popular is mediation for separating couples?
Mediation is extremely popular and widely accepted by the court and by attorneys. Many of our cases at Triangle Divorce Lawyers use some type of mediation to settle the case. Also, mediation is a tool you may be required to use if you are going to court. Court calendars are full, and it takes months to get to trial. In an effort to relieve the court docket and to encourage settlement, the court requires you to attend custody mediation through their in-house mediation program as soon as you file a custody lawsuit. The court also requires you to attend mediation for equitable distribution (property division) claims with a mediator of your choice. The court also has volunteer mediators for the day to help parties revolve some disputes while waiting for their case to be heard that day.
What types of divorce mediation are there?
- Mediations with unrepresented parties or “Pro se” mediation: the parties come to mediation without attorneys present and discuss resolution of their matter. The mediator draws up a summary of agreements reached in mediation. That summary can be converted into a binding separation agreement by a drafting attorney who would be hired by one of the parties. The other party has the opportunity to review it with an attorney of his/her choice. You can choose your own drafting attorney, or we can recommend folks we work with regularly.
- Mediations with represented parties: each party has an attorney, and the mediator facilitates a negotiation between the two sides. The two sides are usually in separate rooms, and the mediator moves between rooms.
Is separation and divorce mediation right for me?
The process is based on reaching agreement and compromise.
Pro se mediation is not right for couples where one person dominates or bullies the other, or if a participant cannot advocate for his or her own interests in the sessions. In that case, mediation for represented parties or collaborative process may be a better fit.
Mediation also requires both people to agree to resolve their dispute through this process, try to resolve issues together, and make a good faith effort at mediation. If one person is not on board with the process, then mediation may not be the right way to settle your matters and you may need litigation. We are happy to talk to both of you so the other person can learn more about the process and have questions answered.
Are there other processes we can use besides mediation that will still keep us out of court?
- Collaborative Divorce: A series of settlement conferences with represented parties (each has an attorney), and where neutral advisors (financial, custody neutrals) will process and summarize information and contribute recommendations to the parties.
- Arbitration: When parties cannot agree, a third person makes the decision. This can be a court-like process or a dispute described through emails and a decision is issued. This is sometimes added to agreements so that the parties may get a quick decision about a disagreement.
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