family mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation can help you resolve conflicts related to separation or divorce, parenting schedules, child support, alimony and property division. It is generally faster and cheaper than a court case. It is also less stressful and provides you with more control over the outcome.
Mediation involves a neutral individual who helps people communicate and come up with solutions to their problems. They use brainstorming, experience and attentive listening. They also encourage participants to consider the needs and interests of their children. The mediator can be a lawyer or a specially trained person, such as a mental health professional, teacher or accountant.
The process of resolving family issues in mediation is usually completed within one day or in two to three sessions. It may be decided in the first session that more information is needed, and the mediator will schedule additional meetings. In some cases, the mediator will arrange’shuttle’ mediation, whereby the parties are in separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between them to help them reach an agreement.
It is not uncommon for a family who enters the mediation process embroiled in deep emotion and pain to leave with logistical agreements that will create safe boundaries and rules about respectful future interactions. This type of flexibility in both the process and the decisions that are reached in mediation is what makes it so valuable.