When family members have a dispute, they may want to consider mediation as an alternative to addressing the issue in court. Mediation can be an option for disagreements involving divorce, child support, spousal support, parenting time and other related matters.
This process can save the parties time and money, and it can help maintain a positive relationship between them going forward. This can be especially helpful if the parties have children in common.
A mediator is a neutral third party who meets with the parties in the dispute to facilitate communication between them. The mediator does not make a decision for the parties, but can help them identify and prioritize the issues that need to be addressed, discuss possible solutions and review their proposed written agreement.
The issue will likely not be resolved all in one session. However, if the parties are willing to cooperate and act in good faith to address the problem, it can take significantly less time to come to an agreement through mediation than going to court.
Mediation can help the parties retain a level of control over the process because they are the decision-makers, unlike the court process where a judge will decide for them.
It is also typically a confidential process, meaning that evidence that is presented during the mediation is not used elsewhere. There are usually no transcripts or other records that are available publicly. Because family law issues can sometimes involve sensitive information, this is a benefit for parties who want information to stay reasonably private.
An experienced attorney can help the parties begin the mediation process and answer their questions.