Most people believe the only way to resolve family issues is to go to court and “fight it out,” ruining relationships and tearing apart families. There is an alternative to the adversarial approach – Family Mediation.
The issues that can be resolved through family mediation include divorce, paternity, time-sharing and subsequent modifications to those issues:
Families in a divorce must make decisions regarding the division of property and debt and issues related to the children. Divorce mediation can be a positive alternative to litigation because it focuses on bringing the two parties together with a neutral mediator to negotiate the issues. In addition, the divorce mediation is a private proceeding that is typically much less costly than going to court.
A father has no rights to a child if the parents were never married. To establish his rights he must file an action for paternity, parental responsibility (decisions making authority) and visitation (custody/time-sharing). Using mediation to discuss paternity and custody issues can provide a more private and less costly approach than going to court.
The only thing that you can count on in life is change. As your life changes or events occur in your life, it may be necessary to modify your child support and time-sharing (as your children age); illness, retirement or loss of job may necessitate a modification to your financial obligation. By using mediation to negotiate these changes to a custody agreement, divorce agreement, or other family legal issue, the parties can explore alternatives and discuss the important issues with a neutral third party.
Mediation allows the families to talk about these issues with the help of a neutral facilitator (mediator). The parties are given the ability to make decisions that will shape their lives in the future and that work best for their family, as they are in the best position to make the decisions. This includes such things as the division of property, assets, debts, liabilities, and issues relating to their children.
The mediator’s role is to facilitate the discussion between the parties to help them reach an agreement on the issues in their divorce, custody or other issue. The mediator does not represent either party and cannot provide legal advice. Some participants include a lawyer in the negotiations while others do not. It is a matter of personal preference, an attorney is not required.