What is Family Mediation
Family mediation gives people the ability to resolve family issues in a private setting with the help of an unbiased person. A common reason to seek mediation is a pending divorce, an undecided parenting plan or a possible legal separation. Mediation can be voluntary (chosen proactively by the parties) or involuntary (required by the court). In both cases, mediation gives people the opportunity to choose the best outcome for their family before a judge is forced to decide for them.
A family mediation typically takes one of two forms. It can be a shuttle mediation where the parties negotiate from separate rooms. Otherwise it can be a facilitative mediation where the participants sit at the same table and communicate face to face.
In a shuttle mediation, each participant has a room to themselves and the mediator will go between the rooms communicating for the parties. In most cases each person is joined by an attorney who will help them make decisions and evaluate the offers. The mediator will take a direct approach and often suggest solutions. Suggestions will be based on their experience and opinions on what a court would decide if given similar facts.
Facilitative mediation will begin with a short introduction from the mediator describing the process. Afterwards each person will have an opportunity to talk about why they chose to attend and what they hope to accomplish. Then discussions will begin, where the mediator will guide the conversation based on each person’s goals for the session. Solutions are typically provided by the participants only. At the end of the session, ideally agreements are reached and the mediator can later put that in writing.