Elephant mediator representing mediation

Did you know that Mediation is the most commonly used dispute resolution option? It is an informal process for resolving disputes utilizing a neutral third-party to help the people on both sides of a legal case negotiate an agreement in a confidential and private setting.

As a mediator and family law attorney, I want to share with you what using mediation to RESOLVE your conflict might look like:

R: Reliable

Mediation has become one of the most commonly used dispute resolution techniques because it is reliable. It provides a flexible framework that allows individuals in conflict to work together toward a resolution.

E: Education

Life is about to change and educating yourself, and your family, on the issues you may face is important. In a family law case, attorneys work on various issues including child custody, child support, alimony, equitable distribution and eventually divorce.  Through mediation, individuals often get the unique experience of understanding the legal reasoning behind each issue while working to resolve them.

S: Set Goals

When you meet with your attorney for the first time make sure you set out clear goals. Those goals may change throughout the course of the mediation process, and the concepts may be fluid as additional information is gathered.  However, setting clear goals will make it easier for you and your attorney to work together seamlessly with the mediator and other parties.

O:  Open Doors

Mediation allows you to open the door to creative thinking. Family Law is not a one size fits all practice area. Your attorney and mediator should be able to work together to think out of the box for creative resolutions that work for your family. For example, there is no defined custody schedule in North Carolina General Statutes. Working together outside of the court room may help you to get creative in your parenting calendar to find a schedule that works best for everyone.

L:  Lawyer

A mediator does not make any decisions and is not a legal advocate for either party. This means that each party in a legal case is in control of making decisions during mediation. Just as you would choose an experienced family law attorney to represent you, when choosing a mediator select someone with experience on both sides of the type of case that is in dispute.

V: Valuable time

Mediation works at the pace of the parties and their respective attorneys, not necessarily the Court’s schedule.  This means things can move quickly, or slowly, but most importantly they move at a stride with which the parties are comfortable.

E:  Emotional endurance

No matter the case, emotional endurance will be key. Deciding to use mediation does not mean that your case be resolved overnight. It takes the hard work and dedication of both parties, and their attorneys, to identify the issues at the heart of the dispute to best prepare for resolving those issues to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.

It is important to remember that a successful mediation depends on the direct involvement of both parties and can be a much more cost-effective way to resolve a dispute than courtroom litigation.  It also allows the parties to exercise more control over the process and the details of the resolution. The role of the mediator is to bridge the gap between the parties and their positions to reach a solution.

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