Mediation As A Valuable Tool in Family Law
What is mediation and how can it be useful in settlement of my family law case?
Mediation is a process by which parties agree to attend one or more meetings with a neutral third party mediator, whose goal is to facilitate communication to reach a settlement of all or part of the legal issues that are in dispute. It is an alternative form of dispute resolution. It is a collaborative process as compared to the adversarial nature of litigation to resolve disputes. The process of mediation can save valuable time and financial resources in comparison to the resources involved in litigation. Resolving disputes through mediation allows parties to take control of the process and move forward. In many cases, parties are free to form new relationships. For example, parties who reach an agreement in matters related to child custody can go on to create a new co-parenting relationship.
What if my spouse and I reach an agreement?
When parties reach a resolution through the process of mediation, a summary is drafted by the mediator that is then used to draft a contract that will be binding on both parties.
Parties to a lawsuit who reach resolution by agreement through the process of mediation to all or part of their legal issues, their agreement can be entered by consent before the court as a judgment of the court if the court so accepts the agreement. Alternatively, the agreement can be memorialized into a written agreement, or contract, that is binding on both parties.
What happens if we don’t reach an agreement?
If, after mediation, parties fail to come to an agreement as to their legal matters, they are free to continue to litigate their legal issues before the court. The terms of settlement offered during mediation are not admissible in future proceedings.
What types of cases can enter into mediation?
All types of cases can enter into mediation, but within the context of Family Law, all matters can be resolved through mediation. Furthermore, North Carolina Courts recognize the value of the mediation process and require parties litigating Child Custody Disputes and suits involving the Equitable Distribution of property to participate in a mandatory mediation prior to bringing their cases to trial before the court.
Please contact us office if you are interested in settling your Family Law matter(s) through the process of mediation.