One of the best ways to resolve a family law issue is through mediation. Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution that uses a mediator to assist two or more parties in resolving their dispute.
Mediation provides an informal setting for discussing the issues involved in a dispute and communicating the parties’ needs, goals, objectives, and interests.
Through the process, parties to a dispute learn about each other’s needs, clarify their goals and objectives within the context of their relationship, apply techniques for collaborative problem solving, reach agreements on any outstanding issues through consensus, and develop constructive communication skills.
A lot of people don’t know this but at the heart of all family law disputes there is almost always a solvable underlying problem–a common goal that both parties can agree on.
Whether it’s agreeing on child support, property division, or spousal maintenance, mediation focuses on solving real problems.
Below are just a few examples of what is mediation in family law and how it can benefit you in case of a family issue.
Child Custody And Visitation
Child custody cases can be emotionally charged and emotionally draining. Parents often disagree on how to parent their children, and when they can’t agree on a solution, they may end up in court.
Child custody disputes typically involve issues of parenting time (visitation) between parents, decisions about religion, and other matters.
In many places, the court has no ability to award joint custody unless both parents agree to it. As a result, even if you are able to prove that your ex-spouse is unfit as a parent or that they have been abusive toward the children, you will have difficulty getting full custody unless your ex agrees.
In some cases, mediation can help parents reach an agreement about child custody and visitation without going through litigation in court. In other cases, mediation might be used after litigation begins but before a trial takes place.
Developing Parenting Plans
In many cases, parents can develop a parenting plan in mediation. A parenting plan is a document that spells out the rights and responsibilities of each parent.
For example, it may include information about where the children will live and who will make major decisions for them. It might also say how often the parents will communicate with each other and make provisions for emergency situations.
The mediator assists the parents in developing a parenting plan that works for them and their children. The mediator does not decide what should go into the parenting plan; this is up to the parents.
However, if they are having trouble coming up with ideas, the mediator can offer suggestions or ask questions to help them generate ideas.
Once they have completed their plans, both parents must sign and date them as part of their agreement.
Pension And Retirement Account Division
When spouses cannot agree on how to divide their retirement accounts, they can turn to mediation for help.
Mediation allows couples to work with an impartial third party who facilitates communication between them as they try to resolve their issues.
Retirement accounts are often divided during mediation because it is a simple way for both parties to receive fair compensation while protecting their interests.
Retirement accounts are usually divided into equal shares because this protects both parties’ interests. If one spouse receives a larger share than the other spouse, they could use that money to buy more assets or start another business.
On the other hand, if one spouse receives a smaller share than the other spouse, they could use that money for their personal needs without having any responsibilities toward paying child support or alimony payments down the line.
Splitting Marital Assets And Debts
When it comes time for divorce, one of the most important things for both parties is fairly dividing property, assets, and debts between each other.
This includes everything from houses, cars, and jewelry to investments and retirement accounts.
While what you own may have been acquired during your marriage, it could be difficult to determine who actually owns what if there was no written documentation stating where the property came from or who paid for it.
When you get divorced, this is one area that can be easily resolved by going through the process of mediation.
To Sum It Up
At the end of the day, the biggest benefit for clients who choose to mediate their family dispute is there will be no court case and no need for a trial.
And keeping a civil approach also keeps the emotions at a minimum, which allows both parties to focus on resolving their common goals when it comes to parenting time, child support, and/or spousal maintenance.