Mediation in family law cases is a reality. Most jurisdictions require mediation at some point in any family law case that includes child custody and financial issues. Why is that? Because mediation works.
Mediation reduces the number of litigated cases, it forces spouses to try to reach their own agreement about their own private matters, and it can save thousands of dollars in attorneys fees and litigation expenses.
There is no doubt that mediation works for the court system. For example, if only one child custody case is settled in mediation that does not have to be litigated it can save several hours of court time, and sometimes much more court time. For example, it is not unusual for a contested custody case to take six hours of court time. Do the math… if a court system, let’s say Wake County’s, settles 100 child custody cases per year through the custody mediation office, that is literally days and days of court time that may be devoted to other cases, helping the system not be as clogged as it would otherwise be.
Parents can also win at mediation. Why? Because they are forced by the mediation process to communicate and come up with a plan that they can each agree to. This avoids them fighting it out at court at great financial and emotional expenses. And it also avoids a third-party imposing a decision on the parents that neither may be satisfied with.
What is true for child custody mediation is also true for financial mediation. The court system benefits from fewer cases; the parties benefit from reaching their own agreement.
Scott Allen is a mediator and divorce attorney in Raleigh, NC with over nineteen years of experience in all areas of family law litigation and settlement. He can be reached at 919.863.4183.