Family mediation is essentially a process that involves a neutral party, known as a mediator, to resolve family disputes among family members. The mediator facilitates communication and negotiations in the most non-argumentative way possible.
The primary purpose of mediation is to decide on family disputes in a way that promotes amicable settlement and reconciliation through compromises deemed fair by both parties.
Mediation could be a viable option for resolving issues since it’s less time-consuming and more affordable than litigation, explains a family attorney who offers judicial arbitration and mediation services. In most cases, it could preserve relationships by avoiding conflict had they gone to court.
How Family Mediation Works
For a family mediation to even happen in the first place, both parties should be in complete agreement to go to mediation. This is the most crucial, but usually the hardest, part of mediation because the process won’t work if one of the parties is unwilling to resolve their issues by using a mediator.
If both parties decide to mediate, the disputing parties could have a judge appoint the mediator or choose one on their own. Ideally, the mediator must be a family attorney with ample knowledge and experience of family conflicts, and should not have any material interest in the mediation’s outcome.
Depending on the particular circumstances of the family’s issues, the mediation sessions could last for days or weeks. During mediation sessions, both parties would communicate their issues to try and reach a reasonable resolution.
The entire process officially ends when both parties have come to an agreement. Otherwise, they would need to involve the court and go to litigation. While the final mediation agreement might not be legally binding, the disputing parties could opt to make the agreement more formal through a written contract.
Legal Representation for Mediation
You don’t need an attorney to be present during mediation sessions. But in most cases, it’s best that all parties get legal representation before going into mediation. If only one party gets legal help or brings in an attorney to mediation, this would generally be unfair to the other party. It’s vital to note though that you shouldn’t sign any official agreement without your attorney’s approval first.