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Trusting the Mediation Process

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

A separation and divorce can involve numerous issues that must be properly addressed: the division of property, spousal support, child custody, and child support. The legal process to resolve these issues can be costly. This is particularly true if parties cannot resolve these issues between themselves, if the disputes drag on, or if you have to take issues to trial. Because of prohibitive costs, the benefits of amicable agreements, and overloaded court schedules, it is to your benefit to make a good faith effort to resolve your disputes at mediation. We encourage our clients to engage in mediation with an open mind, but we understand that they may have reservations about trusting the mediation process—or the point of trying to reach an agreement. Hopefully, the answers to the following questions …

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Can a Mediated Agreement be Overturned?

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

In cases involving child custody or visitation, courts almost always require parties to engage in mediation with a third party mediator. The only exceptions to this are when “good cause” exists to forego mediation, such as a history of domestic violence, certain criminal convictions, substance abuse, or child abuse or neglect. Mediation is generally a good option for resolving a child custody or visitation dispute. In fact, the stated purpose of mediation is to: “reduce any acrimony that exists” between the parents; facilitate custody and visitation agreements that are in the child’s best interest; “provide the parties with informed choices” and to allow the parties to make decisions for themselves instead of relying on the court; “provide a structured, confidential, nonadversarial setting that will facilitate the cooperative resolution of custody …

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Is Alternative Dispute Resolution Required?

In Child Custody, Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) consists of numerous types of “alternatives” to taking a lawsuit to trial. We are well aware that there are people out there who are eager to go to trial to have their day in court. However, consider the following: Taking a case to trial is very expensive. There are attorneys fees relating to the time-consuming process of trial preparation and the days of time exclusively dedicated to actual trial. This doesn’t even include the court costs, witness fees, expert witnesses, and obtaining certified records. Courts are overbooked. They have way too many cases on their dockets and insufficient time to dedicate to every case that is heading toward trial. This makes it difficult to get a trial setting, or to even get reached on your assigned …

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Giving Mediation a Chance

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Getting divorced in North Carolina is just one part of a big legal puzzle. Other pieces include property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. Each piece can become a contentious, expensive, hard-fought legal battle that may ultimately end up in a contested trial. Before trial, however, courts order parties to attempt to settle their issues through alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation. Mediation is an informal proceeding that involves all the parties to a lawsuit and an impartial mediator. At mediation, the parties meet at the same location, but are often separated into different rooms while the mediator speaks with each party and their attorney about their legal arguments, evidence, and desired relief. Over the course of the day, the mediator will continue to speak with each group in …

How Do I Prepare for Mediation?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Trial can be an exhausting, time consuming, and stress inducing experience. You may find yourself on the witness stand, answering the most embarrassing and deeply personal questions imaginable. And when other witnesses testify, you have no choice but to sit quietly while all of your alleged mistakes are put on show. Trial is also incredibly expensive — lawyers have to do many hours of additional work to prepare for trial and spend days in a courtroom exclusively for your case. For these reasons and others, it is standard practice for courts in North Carolina to order the parties to mediation regarding issues related to child custody and property division prior to trial. I’ve Been Ordered to Mediation. What Do I Need to Know? Mediation is a conference between all of …

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What is Mediation?

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Lawsuits are incredibly time consuming and expensive for everyone involved. In addition, courts across North Carolina are experiencing increasingly unmanageable dockets. In other words, there are a growing number of cases being filed and not enough time for judges to hear them all. For these reasons, courts will often order parties in a lawsuit to attempt Alternative Dispute Resolution (also referred to as ADR). And the most common form of ADR is mediation. What is Mediation? Mediation is an informal process in which the parties in a case, their attorneys, and an impartial third party meet and attempt to resolve the case with an agreement. This is not like trial. There is no evidence presented, no court reporter, and no judge. Instead, the parties are separated into different rooms and …