Often separated and divorced families face a great deal of change and emotional turmoil. The way in which these changes and emotions are dealt with can affect family members for years to come. Constant fighting, arguing and blaming are generally predictors of protracted litigation, high costs and significant damage to the family.
In family mediation, parties meet together in a private confidential setting to discuss their issues and problems. A neutral trained mediator assists the parties by identifying the issues, developing workable solutions, facilitating discussions, assisting with communication and providing information. The goal of family mediation is to resolve disputes and to reach a settlement agreement that works for everyone.
Family mediation is a voluntary process and the outcome of mediation is determined by the parties themselves, not by a judge. It allows for more flexibility and creative solutions than a court order. Generally, the terms of any negotiated settlement are subject to legal review by attorneys for the parties. The attorneys can discuss any questions or concerns relating to the agreement in mediation.
It is important that the parties prepare before attending any mediation sessions. Having a list of the issues to be discussed and copies of any documents or financial records that are relevant to the issue is recommended. The parties may also choose to bring their own attorney to attend the mediation. Prior to beginning mediation, the mediator will typically meet with each party individually to gather more information about their case, explain the mediation process and answer any questions or concerns that they may have.