How to Use Family Mediation to Resolve Family Law Disputes

Family mediation can be used to resolve disagreements about divorce, separation, parenting schedules, financial issues, division of inherited property or business interests and other related matters. Mediation is less expensive and distressing than a full-blown litigation battle in court.

The goal of family mediation is to reach an agreement that is customized to your specific situation and that you agree to, rather than having a resolution imposed on you by the courts. We encourage people to attempt to mediate any disputes they may have with their spouse, significant other or co-parent before filing for a divorce or other family law dispute.

Before you go to mediation, make a list of all the issues that you need to resolve. Gather any documentation you might need, such as copies of bills or credit card statements. It is also helpful to have a rough draft of the resolution you are seeking in writing before the session starts.

Keep in mind that your mediation sessions are confidential. Any discussions in mediation (with the exception of financial information, which is legally enforceable as an order of the court) cannot be used as evidence in a court case should you later need to go to court. It is common to have a lawyer review any agreement reached in mediation before it is signed.

Keep in mind that you probably will not receive everything you want during the mediation. Your partner might view what is best for the children from a different perspective than you do, so try to be open minded and understand where they are coming from. The mediator might also have suggestions for custody and time arrangements that you hadn’t considered.

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