Helping You Resolve Issues Through Mediation
When you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse or ex-partner cannot agree on vital matters involved with a divorce or ending a relationship, there are options. We can help guide you through tough decision-making with the more collaborative process of mediation. At Bluestein & Douglas, Inc., we have seen every type of dissolution and are committed to helping you through this time so you can move forward with your life.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process by which a mediator – usually a lawyer with extensive family court experience – meets with the parties, either individually or together, with their own lawyers or without – to help them reach an agreement on the issues. The mediator does not represent either of the parties and does not make any decisions in the case. Mediators help the parties reach an agreement on their own, so the case does not have to be tried. Mediated agreements must be approved by the family court and made into a family court order before they are enforceable.
There are many advantages to mediation, including:
- Creative solutions: Often the mediator can fashion creative provisions that a family court judge might not have the authority to include in an Order.
- Speed: You get a quicker resolution to your case. It can take more than a year to have a trial scheduled, but mediation can be scheduled at any point during the case.
- Preparation expense: Most of the time, mediation is far less expensive than a trial. Even though mediation requires extensive attorney preparation, it does not come close to the preparation needed for the trial.
- Time: A trial is often scheduled for more than one day or court time, and sometimes more than one week of court time. Mediation is usually finished in one day, although more complex cases may take several days.
- Control: You keep control over your life when you reach a mediated settlement. A family court judge has only the information presented during trial on which he bases major decisions about your life and the lives of your children. When you get a mediated agreement, you and your estranged spouse make all of the decisions.
- Finality: When you complete a trial and get a judge’s ruling, either or both parties can appeal that ruling. This can take years and end up with a retrial of the same issues. When you get a mediated agreement, you are finished with your case. When a mediated agreement becomes a written, signed agreement and is approved and adopted by the family court, it is final and cannot be appealed.
- Security: When you take your case to trial, you have no idea what the judge’s ruling might be. When you enter into a mediated agreement, you do not face the uncertainty of the family court judge’s decision.
Is Mediation The Best Option For Me?
You cannot know your best option with any certainty until you meet with us. Because we try to avoid formal discovery when we do cooperative law, we believe that one of the first requirements is that both parties have full knowledge of their overall financial situation, including assets, debts and incomes. There must be some degree of trust between the parties to reduce the fear that one or the other is hiding assets or income. Cases in which there are allegations of physical or emotional abuse by one of the parties are not usually appropriate for collaborative and cooperative law.
Arbitration: Another Out-Of-Court Option
Arbitration is a process of adjudicating a case without actually having a trial in family court. Arbitration is usually a less formal process than a trial and is often binding on the parties. An arbitrator needs to be Certified Family Court Mediator and Arbitrator. Unlike the mediator, the arbitrator acts like a judge, making final decisions in the case. There are advantages and disadvantages to arbitration. The advantages include:
- Arbitration can be scheduled whenever it is convenient. The parties do not have to wait to get court time.
- Arbitration is often less formal than a trial and often takes far less time.
- Arbitrated decisions are usually not appeal-able.
- You can choose your arbitrator.
Some couples choose to resolve a dissolution of marriage in South Carolina by arbitration, but there are a couple of disadvantages. Both parties must pay for the arbitrator when they would not have to pay for a judge. And the arbitrator’s decision is usually final, meaning that the parties lose their right to appeal the arbitrator’s decision.
Learn More And Start The Process – Contact Us Now
If you are beginning your dissolution process – or perhaps you are at a standstill and neither party is budging on decisions – we can assist you through any issues until you reach the resolution. Call us in Mount Pleasant, just north of Charleston, at 843-769-0311 or request an initial consultation with this email and begin the legal process.