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Mediation in Family Law

What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution.  It is a way in which the parties negotiate with the help of a mediator.  Mediation is generally voluntary and parties choose whether to go or not, although in Indiana, many courts have ordered attempted mediation before final hearings.  Mediation is also a collaborative environment in which both sides work together to come to a solution.  It is useless if both parties are not actively participating.  It is important to know that most mediations are entirely confidential and are solely between the parties and the mediators. Learn more about Indiana mediation here.

Why would anyone go to mediation?

First, as noted above, sometimes the court will require the parties to at least try their hand at mediation.  However, even if you are not forced, going to mediation might prove beneficial to your case.  Sitting down with a mediator can help you and your attorney learn more about your case and understand what some possibilities are, even if no agreement is reached.  You can also learn more about what the other party is thinking.  The mediation will allow you to see inside their argument and better prepare yourself if there is a trial to come.  It might also give you more bargaining power.  Mediators themselves can often prove helpful as well.  Generally, mediators are highly experienced in family law issues, and may be able to offer insight into the situation to allow for a smoother negotiation.

What will happen in mediation?

Generally, there are two ways to go through mediation: court litigation or a licensed mediator, such as a family law attorney.  On some issues, the Indiana state code provides starting points, such as dissolution and custody.  On more customizable issues however, a good mediator can help to provide starting points.  At mediation, every party has the right to have an attorney with them to support their side of the mediation.  It is often important to have an attorney as your ally in these proceedings.  Not only will it provide you with someone who is experienced in these matters, but it is also more likely to produce an agreement at the end of the day.  Additionally, it means you are more likely to end up with an agreement that you both understand and are comfortable with, rather than one you are unsure about in some way.  The American Bar Association published a helpful document to read in preparation for family law mediations.

What about you?

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce or a custody dispute, or is considering going through one of them, it is important that you know your rights and options and have an experienced attorney on your side.  Our office can help you assert those rights and go into mediation with you if necessary, armed with the experience and knowledge necessary to come to the best agreement possible.

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