Is Mediation Always Successful In Family Law Cases?
As a mediator, we hope to help everyone successfully mediate their issues and come to an agreement. The percentage of successful mediated cases is understandably greater if we can identify cases that aren’t suitable candidates for mediation. One of the things that we do is speak to both parties at the very beginning. We do this to determine whether the case is appropriate for mediation.
But cases that do get mediated don’t always resolve. Sometimes, the parties can’t reach an agreement on certain things. As experienced family lawyers, we have had plenty of parties where one or both people may still feel very emotional about the whole situation. Many times, as much as people want to get their divorce or custody done and over with, some feel like they don’t want to compromise or don’t want to give in on something they believe very strongly about. Some people only want to have their day in court and have an opportunity to state their position, present their testimony and evidence, and have a judge make the decision.
Having a judge decide in your case is entirely okay, and we tell people that when we’re meditating and litigating cases. Whether you reach an agreement or not is entirely up to you. We tell people why we think mediation is a good idea because, often, it can be successful if you have two parties willing to engage in good faith, engage in the conversation, and try to agree to avoid litigation.
Will We Still Have To Appear In Court If We’re Successful In Mediation?
Whether you will still have to appear in court after a successful mediation depends on your type of case. You will still have to appear in court if you have a divorce case. Even if you’ve reached a full and final agreement about custody, child support, and property, you still must get the divorce. A divorce can’t be handled by mediation.
If you’re in a divorce case, your best-case scenario is to mediate your entire agreement and get it in writing, but you still must appear for an uncontested divorce hearing. Uncontested divorce cases are very brief, and they’re pretty easy.
Essentially, an attorney or your judge will ask the parties questions. These questions are related to but not limited to the following:
- Have you reached an agreement?
- Are you married?
- When were you separated?
- Do you have kids?
The questions the lawyer or judge asks are easy to answer, but in a divorce case, you still must make an appearance in court to get your divorce granted.
In a custody case, depending on whether you have hearings already on the docket, you may need to appear in court. Sometimes you can submit your agreement in a custody case, such as a modification of a custody case, to the court in the form of a consent order and then not have to appear in court.
Typically, you wouldn’t have to appear in court because both parties have attorneys, and both parties are participating in mediation. We tell people when they’re starting a case to plan to appear in court. An uncontested hearing will occur after you’ve mediated your agreement, so don’t take off because there’s a good possibility you will have to appear for a brief hearing.
How Long Does Mediation Generally Take?
If you are ordered to go to mediation (which many county courts do as a matter of course in every case), the courts will usually order two two-hour sessions. You would make two appointments with the mediator for two hours each. Depending on your case, how many issues there are and how complex they are will determine how long the mediation takes.
Generally, we tell people to expect two two-hour mediation sessions. Frequently, two sessions are enough to get some issues resolved. If more than two sessions are needed with a mediator, you might need to schedule another couple of sessions. But usually, to go more than three or four sessions would have to be an unusually complex case, not just the typical child access or property mediation.
A free initial consultation is your next step for more information on Successfully Mediating A Family Law Case. Get the information and legal answers you seek today by calling (443) 300-2335.