Mediating Family Law Matters
Across South Carolina, mediation is required for all family law issues, and in most situations, mediation can be more cost-effective and less contentious than resolving the matter in court. Our partner, Colleen Condon, is an experienced, certified mediator in family court and works with parties to mediate their family law issues.
What would Mediation be like for me?
Colleen mediates in a shuttle format. So you and your ex-spouse are usually in separate rooms, and she brings offers back and forth between you. You can be by yourself, with an attorney, or with a trusted friend or family member, as you prefer. The mediation will be scheduled for a time period agreed by the parties, 2 hours to all day. We order lunch in, and have soft drinks, water, coffee, and snacks available to keep everyone charged and working effectively until resolution.
- Why should I mediate?
- What can be mediated?
- What is the mediator’s role?
- What if I have an attorney?
- What happens if we don’t reach an agreement?
- What mediation is not
Why should I mediate?
Getting divorced and dealing with parenting plans can be both emotionally exhausting financially devastating. Mediation is a process that can usually resolve these issues much quicker and cheaper than litigation. One of the greatest advantages of resolving family issues in mediation is that the parties control the outcome, meaning that any results are the product of their agreement rather than having a judge decide. This allows parents to create customized agreements addressing each parent’s specific concerns and the particular needs of their family. In mediation, parents are not forced to take harsh public positions against each other, and the possibility for co-parenting in a cooperative manner following the divorce or separation is enhanced as a result.
What can be mediated?
All issues that would be considered in Family Court can be addressed voluntarily in family mediation. Issues can include, but are not limited to:
- Parenting plans (Child custody, parenting or visitation time, and child support)
- Parental responsibility – who will make the day-to-day decisions about the children’s lives
- Modification of custody, visitation, & support
- How the marital property, assets and debts will be divided between the parties
- Issues regarding spousal support and alimony
- Grounds for divorce
What is the mediator’s role?
As the mediator, Colleen will facilitate the discussion of issues but does not make decisions. She will focus the discussion on planning for the future and will guide the parties by suggesting possible solutions and options to address various issues through brainstorming, her vast experience, and attentive listening. Realistic solutions will be proposed and considered. She does not represent either party then or later as their attorney.
What if I have an attorney?
You are welcome to bring your lawyer to mediation, if you want to, or you can use your lawyer as an advisor before and after a session. That’s completely up to you! Lawyers who understand and support mediation can help mediating spouses in several ways: by informing them of their legal rights and options, by coaching them through the negotiations, by coming up with creative settlement ideas, and by preparing the necessary divorce paperwork once an agreement is signed.
What happens if we don’t reach an agreement?
If no agreement is reached, the case will be decided by a judge. In either case, a Mediation Report prepared by the mediator will be sent to the Family Court advising them of the result of mediation so the court can schedule the appropriate hearing time. Discussions during mediation are considered confidential and cannot be used against you in court.
What mediation is not
Mediation is not psychotherapy, marital counseling, or legal representation. Colleen will not represent or counsel mediation attendees during the mediation process, but rather serve as a neutral facilitator of the decision-making process.
If you know you are going to be mediating any family law issues, hire an experienced certified mediator to save attorneys’ fees and court fees down the road. Schedule your mediation with Colleen Condon by contacting us online or by calling 843-225-7288.