Mediation As Part of Divorce Proceedings

Posted by Leslie SarjiSep 24, 20140 Comments

Mediation is an out-of-court dispute resolution technique ordered by many judges to give the divorcing parties an opportunity to negotiate their own solutions for resolving their marital and divorce-related issues. In mediation, the parties work together to identify the major issues that need to be dealt with, and then set out to come up with terms that are reasonable, fair and that effectively solve the problem. Mediation concludes when the parties arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement and then codify that agreement into a binding legal contract.

Mediation requires the divorcing parties to work with a mediator, usually over the course of several sessions. The couple may together select a mediator, or have the court appoint one. A mediator's primary function is to facilitate the mediation process and to make sure that the divorcing parties talk, negotiate and stay focused as they work through the mediation. The mediator ensures that a fair decision making process takes place, but is not allowed to weigh in on the negotiating process.

Mediation sessions are confidential, and usually take place with just one of the divorcing parties at a time, although both divorcing parties can work with a mediator at the same time during sessions if everyone gets along relatively well. Sometimes other professionals are invited to take part in mediation sessions, such as lawyers, accountants and therapists.

Get a Lawyer

Because mediation negotiation, if successful, ultimately becomes a binding agreement, it is important to contact an attorney who has experience with divorce mediation to review the terms before you officially sign the agreement. A family law attorney will be able to review the terms of the agreement with your best interest in mind and will be able to identify any potential pitfalls of the terms of the proposed agreement.

When the Court Orders Mediation

Mediation is a useful tool for courts, and the South Carolina family courts encourage the use of mediation as a form of dispute resolution. It is a preferred method for solving divorce issues since it gives power over decisions to the parties involved and gives them an opportunity to come up with a solution that is customized for their particular circumstances. When the court is left to make decisions on behalf of the parties, it is less likely that the parties will get resolutions that are particularly satisfying. Instead, the parties are left with the judgment of the court, which is final and unchangeable. Mediation is often a more affordable route than court, as well.

The consequences for unsuccessfully completing mediation is that the court will be left to resolve the divorcing parties' marital issues. Sometimes reliance on the court is the only possible course of action if the parties are bitter towards one another and are incapable of working together, talking about their issues, or refuse to budge on any stance they have taken with regard to the divorce. While unfortunate, sometimes divorces are harsh and there is nothing to do but turn to the court for a decision.

Contacting a South Carolina Family Law Attorney

Mediation in an important part of divorce proceedings. If you have been ordered by the court to participate in divorce mediation, it is important that you contact a lawyer. The Charleston family lawyers at Sarji Law Firm, LLC are familiar with the mediation process and will work with you to negotiate fair and reasonable terms for your divorce on your behalf. Please reach out to us by calling 843-323-4341.

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