What’s Up with Family Court Mediation?

If you have already filed your divorce action you have probably already found out that in many counties in South Carolina, you will be required to go to divorce mediation in your case.

So what is mediation?  Most simply, mediation is a negotiation meeting between you and your spouse.  It acts as a chance to get everyone “to the table” so to speak where the case can be discussed and hopefully all of your issues can be resolved without a trial.

Generally, you and your spouse will be sitting in separate rooms with your attorneys and the mediator will go back and forth between the rooms to assist you in finding some common ground and helping you to see how things more clearly about your case.  While a mediator is often an attorney who has experience with similar cases to yours, the mediator is a neutral who has no experience with you or your spouse and they can not give you legal advice about your case.

There are several rules that you should know about before going to mediation.  First, everything that is discussed at mediation is confidential.  That means if you and your spouse are not able to work out an agreement whatever you have discussed cannot be brought up at trial and used against you.  That means you get a free bite at the apple.  You may offer something to your spouse as a way to settle your case that you don’t necessarily believe they are entitled to.  But, if you do not settle your case they can’t throw that back in your face later on.

The next thing you need to know about mediation is that many issues are settled there.  Mediation is a success if only some of the issues are settled – even if the entire case is not resolved.  This saves you money and time in the long run because you are not forced to litigate every single issue in your case.  What?!?  Let’s just use the following facts as a sample.  You file for divorce against your husband and you seek custody of your children, child support, reasonable visitation for your husband, property division (specifically your husband’s 401(k) and the marital home) and alimony.  At mediation you can’t come to an agreement on alimony or how much you feel you should get from your husband’s retirement account, but you do settle the custody, child support and visitation issue.  This means you don’t have to worry about the expense of a Guardian ad Litem for your children and you do not have to litigate the sticky child custody issue that could take up significant time in the final trial.

One thing I like to urge people when I mediate their divorce case is not to assume that the case won’t settle.  Many cases seem to start out a long way apart, but end up settling many (if not all) of the issues.

Do you need more information about divorce mediation?  Comment below or send me your questions.

Comments

  1. Me and my husband have been seperated for 11yrs.
    We have a 17yr old child togather, which he never sees, never calls and has never supported.
    I filed for a divorce, he signed and returned the papers 5 days past the date and he failed to get them notarized. He did not show up for court and has since moved to a unknown location. He has no job, no car no license, is in and out of jail. Do I still need to go through mediation to get my divorce from him, I can not locate him to inform him of the mediation of which he will not show up for anyway. What can I do? I’m at a lost and running out of money to continue paying for this. My attorney want me to look for him, I don’t know where to look his family will tell me nothing.

  2. christopher iodice says:

    my wife and I are going through a divorce and she keeps cancelling the mediation every time it comes up. how many times can she keep doing this?

Speak Your Mind