Do you and your spouse/co-parent want to work together to resolve your divorce, separation, or custody matter, but don't know how? Mediation is an alternative to contested litigation, which allows parties to make theirown decisions. You know your children, partner, finances, history, and plans for the future better than any third party- attorneys, judges, and even the mediator- ever will. Mediation can help you apply that knowledge and reach an agreement that is tailored to the needs of you and your family. Our Charleston-area divorce mediator can help you resolve your Family Court dispute quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Family mediation can address issues such as custody, visitation, child support, property and debt division, and other child and family matters - often in a way that helps preserve family and co-parenting relationships.
Step 1: Contact Our Office
You are encouraged to contact our Summerville mediation office by telephone or email to schedule a date for mediation. If either party has an attorney, the attorney should contact our office instead. We typically schedule half days (3.5 hours) and full days. We will need some basic information about both parties. We will then send a pre-mediation packet to you, with "homework" for both parties to complete prior to mediation. You will need to collect some financial information and tell us a bit about your family and goals. We will also give you instructions on how to pay your deposit for mediation. Parties typically split the costs of mediation, but they are not required to do so. Please contact our office to discuss pricing.
Step 2: Getting Started with Mediation
Parties may choose to mediate in the same room, or may be in separate rooms. The mediator will give both parties an overview of mediation, as well as some "ground rules" for a successful day. We'll identify issues that need to be addressed, and work together to find acceptable solutions.
The mediator will then work to help both sides reach an agreement, focusing on win-win solutions. At the end of the day, both parties will be given a memorandum of agreement to sign, if mediation is successful.
Research has shown that Family Court agreements reached by the parties generally require fewer subsequent court appearances with respect to enforcement, and such agreements are more likely to be voluntarily honored by the parties. It can also be less expensive and less time-consuming than traditional divorce litigation.
Although our Summerville divorce mediator is an experienced family law attorney, we cannot provide legal advice to parties when serving as a mediator. You are encouraged to consult with an attorney of your choice if you have legal questions or need legal advice.
Mediation is all about you, and gives you a level of control over the process that you cannot get in court. The mediator is not a judge in your case, and the mediator does not decide the case. The mediator does not provide legal or financial advice, nor act as a therapist. The mediator does not and cannot compel action or order the parties to do anything. It is the parties who will reach an agreement with the help of the mediator. We can help tailor a parenting plan that meets the needs of your family. You are the best person to decide what works for you and your children.
The mediation process is confidential and anything disclosed at mediation cannot be compelled for use in Court (with the exception of a written agreement), meaning the mediator cannot be called as a witness for or against either party.
Once mediation is concluded and a memorandum of agreement is issued, (if an agreement has been reached), the parties may want to proceed with having the agreement presented to and approved by the South Carolina Family Court. While the mediator cannot participate in that process, we can provide information and options as to how to proceed.