Wake County has a family court system and local rules that are designed to streamline the court process.  Financial mediation is a requirement in Wake County family law cases where equitable distribution, postseparation support, and alimony are at issue.

Family financial mediation is presided over by a mediator.  A mediator is a neutral person who is there to assist the parties in reaching a settlement of their disputes.

Prior to the mediation, the mediator will have each party sign a mediation agreement that sets out the details of the mediation and how the mediator’s fee will be paid. The mediator’s fee is usually divided equally between the parties and is due at the end of the mediation.

The mediator may not be called as a witness in the case and is boung by rules of strict confidentiality.  Also, offers made back and forth at mediation cannot be used against a party in court.  For example, let’s say you agreed to accept $100,000 to settle equitable distribution at the mediation.  If it does not settle, the other party can’t go into court and say that you agreed to accept that amount.

Generally, the parties are in separate rooms with their lawyers.   The mediator will go back and forth throughout the day carrying offers and counteroffers between the parties.

If the mediation is successful, the parties usually sign a settlement document at the end of the mediation.  The reason a document is signed at mediation is to insure that a deal has been reached and people won’t change their minds later on.

Mediation is a way for the parties to settle their conflict outside of a courtroom.  It can save money and time.  Mediation is also less emotionally taxing than going to court.


Raleigh lawyer Scott Allen is a mediator and also represents clients in equitable distribution, postseparation support, and alimony cases.

If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at sallen@allenspence.com.