HOW IT WORKS
Learn About the Family Court Mediation Process
Mediation is an alternative to contested litigation, which allows parties to make their own 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.
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. 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.
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. At the end of the day, both parties will be given a memorandum of agreement to sign, if mediation is successful.
Mediation is a process whereby a trained neutral (mediator) meets with parties and helps them work towards an agreement as to the issues between them. The mediator’s role is to facilitate communications, to help define issues, and to assist the parties in identifying and negotiating fair solutions that are mutually agreeable. In many cases Family Court mediation succeeds in helping parties reachagreements because it provides the parties an opportunity to present their differences and have someone attempt to craft an agreement that meets both of their wishes.
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.
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.
The mediation process is confidential and anything disclosed at mediation cannot be compelled for use in Court, meaning the mediator cannot be called as a witness for or against either party.
Although our Summerville divorce mediator is an experienced family law attorney, we cannot provide legal advice to parties when serving as a mediator. This means the mediator cannot counsel a party to undertake a particular course of action, although they may provide explanations as to their opinion as to the law on a particular issue, or perhaps possible outcomes at court. You are encouraged to consult with an attorney of your choice if you have legal questions or need legal advice.
Sometimes more than one family mediation session is required if additional information is needed, but in most cases, one session is sufficient.
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.