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What to Expect: Mediation in Family Law

Collaborative Law Saves You Time and Money

What is Mediation in Family Law Cases?

Mediation is a collaborative law process that gives both sides an opportunity to come to an agreement.   In order for your mediation to be successful, it’s important to choose the right mediator.  The mediator is either appointed by the court or mutually agreed upon between the attorneys and/or the parties.  The mediator will go back and forth between both parties to carefully listen to the issues each of the parties is having.  Although the mediator cannot offer or give either party legal advice, the mediator may offer further insight and evaluate the validity of your legal arguments and facts.

Don’t worry, you and your spouse will most likely be in different rooms during the mediation. 

Mediation costs can range between $400.00 to $1,000.00 or more, depending on the complexity and the length of time needed to complete the mediation. If the parties have a successful mediation, the mediator will file a Mediated Settlement Agreement with the court, and then one of attorneys will draft the final order and circulate it for signature. Once the Mediated Settlement Agreement has been filed with the court, it is a binding agreement, and you will not be able to make any additional changes.

Do I have to Mediate?

Navigating a divorce, child custody case, or child support matter in court? Chances are, your Judge will mandate mediation. Attending mediation is a crucial step in the legal process, offering an opportunity for resolution. Stay prepared for your case by understanding the significance of mediation in divorce, child custody, and child support proceedings.

Preparing for Mediation

Before you attend mediation, it’s important to be as prepared as possible.  The more prepared you and your attorney are, the better your outcome will be. 

  1. Understand Your Goals:

    • Clearly define your objectives and what you hope to achieve through mediation. Identify your priorities regarding issues such as child custody, support, and division of assets.
  2. Gather Relevant Documents:

    • Collect all necessary documents, including financial records, asset valuations, and any agreements or court orders related to your case. Having organized and comprehensive documentation will support your positions during mediation.
  3. Know Your Finances:

    • Understand your financial situation, including income, expenses, debts, and assets. Be prepared to discuss financial matters openly and transparently.
  4. Be Open to Compromise:

    • Mediation involves negotiation and compromise. Be willing to consider alternative solutions and find common ground. Flexibility can lead to a more satisfactory resolution.
  5. Consult with Your Attorney:

    • Seek guidance from your family law attorney. Discuss your goals, concerns, and potential strategies for mediation. Your attorney can provide valuable insights and help you navigate the legal aspects of the process.
  6. Prepare a Parenting Plan (if applicable):

    • If child custody is a key issue, consider preparing a parenting plan outlining your proposed arrangements for the children’s care, visitation, and other relevant factors.
  7. Anticipate Questions and Concerns:

    • Be ready to address potential questions or concerns that may arise during mediation. Anticipating issues in advance allows you to formulate thoughtful and well-reasoned responses.
  8. Maintain a Calm Demeanor:

    • Mediation can be emotional, but maintaining a calm and composed demeanor is crucial. Focus on effective communication and avoid confrontations that could hinder the mediation process.
  9. Explore Creative Solutions:

    • Be open to creative solutions that may address the unique aspects of your family situation. Thinking outside the box can lead to agreements that better suit everyone involved.
  10. Be Patient:

    • Mediation may require multiple sessions, and reaching an agreement takes time. Be patient and committed to the process, understanding that it is a step-by-step journey toward resolution.

 

Remember that the specific preparation steps may vary based on the unique circumstances of your case. Consult with your attorney for personalized advice tailored to your family law matter.

Hiring Crocker Russell & Associates

We recognize that every case is different, and everyone’s circumstances are unique.  Our attorneys will strategize the best plan of action for you and your case.  We are on your side and will fight for you every step of the way.

If you are contemplating divorce or your spouse has already filed for divorce, we are here to help.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your options, please call (817) 482-6570.