What is Family Mediation?

Family mediation is a collaborative process whereby couples can meet with an impartial third party, the mediator, to discuss their options and reach a settlement without having a decision imposed on them by a judge. It is a way of settling disputes over issues such as child custody and parenting time, property division, spousal support, child care, and other important issues in a divorce or separation.

While many people think of litigation as the default option when it comes to a family law dispute, Family mediation is an alternative that can be less stressful for everyone involved. Mediation is a confidential, informal, non-adversarial process and the sessions are private. It can be completed in one day or over a series of short sessions that are scheduled at times convenient to the parties. It can also be far cheaper and faster than a trial.

The mediator helps both parties to define their concerns, search for common ground and find creative solutions that can work. In addition, the mediator can help with other specialized needs such as consulting tax advice or pension experts to assess the value and/or income of a particular fund. In cases involving children, the mediator may recommend the assistance of a child therapist or parenting coach.

Whether or not an agreement is reached during the session, the mediator will create a draft of the settlement which both parties then review and sign in the presence of their respective attorneys. The draft can then be reduced to writing in order to become legally binding if the parties agree.

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