In family law mediation, the parties rely on a trained professional, often an attorney, to assist them in making decisions, which might entail what custodial arrangement would work best for separated parents or how to best to divide a divorcing couple’s property. The mediator, as a neutral and unbiased third party, attempts to facilitate a productive conversation between principals involved in the dispute, allowing them to explore areas of compromise and conciliation.
Both parties willingly engage in family law mediation; no one can be forced to do so. The mediator, as a neutral and unbiased third party, attempts to facilitate a productive conversation between the principals involved in the dispute, allowing them to explore areas of compromise and conciliation. The mediator encourages the parties to establish the ground rules for a meaningful conversation, and then facilitates their discussion by careful listening to the parties priorities.
The mediator summarizes points of agreement, isolates areas of disagreement and allows the exploration of possible solutions.
A party’s family law attorney has a key role in the mediation model. Once the parties have outlined an agreement on some or all of the points of contention, each should take opportunity to review with his or her attorney the progress that was achieved during mediation. This is an important step as a party will benefit from an independent legal evaluation of any proposed settlement. The parties’ respective attorneys then fashion a mutually acceptable binding agreement.
A mediator's report is not binding on the parties. If an agreement falls apart the mediator's report is inadmissible in court.
For more information on family law mediation, contact any of the High Swartz group of family attorneys. We are trained to provide either direct mediation services or legal services to a client engaged in mediation.