Mediation is a BIG word these days but how effective is it for couples going through divorce?
Mediation is form of dispute resolution with the goal of reaching an out-of-court settlement. Mediation can be effective when it is necessary and done correctly. If you are going through a divorce, you need to consider whether it is the right choice for you and how to make it the most effective for you. In a series of posts, we will discuss the pros and cons of mediation.
Is mediation necessary? Let’s start from the opposite end of the spectrum – when it is not. If there are no additional claims and you are filing for a simple divorce, mediation is not necessary. If your divorce will also involve child custody, child support, equitable distribution for the division of marital property and debt, or alimony (spousal support for a dependent spouse) then you have more claims than a simple divorce.
If you have filed claims for child custody or equitable distribution in a legal action in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, the Court will require you to attend court-ordered mediation. The Court will supply the mediator unless the parties agree to attend private mediation.
If you have claims other than for a simple divorce, you may need legal advice. A mediator serves as a neutral and does not represent or advocate for the husband or the wife. The mediator does not have an attorney-client relationship with either of you and may not be required to keep information you share confidential from your spouse although the process itself is confidential. The mediator cannot give legal advice to you. To know whether you have reached a fair settlement based on the law, legal advice may be necessary. You would need to retain an attorney to obtain legal advice.
Your mediator cannot draft your legal documents. When parties settle the financial aspects of their case, they often enter into a separation agreement. You may also need a consent order for child custody and support. A mediator cannot ethically serve as a drafter. If you have retained counsel, an attorney can draft the legal documents.
For more information, visit our website at www.woffordfamilylaw.com and/or contact Hunt Wofford, who is a Certified Financial Family Mediator in Charlotte, North Carolina at 704.626.6672.