A Family Law Roadmap: Subdivision Mandatory Mediation

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Mandatory Mediation

The process of mediation offers both parties the opportunity to engage in productive discussions through a third-party mediator.

It’s old news to some, but if you currently are going through a divorce or child custody matter, the term mandatory mediation may be new news to you. By Order of the South Carolina Supreme Court, divorce and child custody cases filed on or after June 1, 2013 in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union Counties are subject to mandatory mediation.

So, what is mediation?

  • Mediation is a legal process in which the parties to a legal action have the opportunity to each present their side of the issues to a third-party, the mediator. The mediator then discusses those concerns with each party in an attempt to help resolve the dispute outside of court.
  • Both parties must be in full agreement for the mediation to be considered successful and for the matter to be resolved.
  • Once mediation is complete, the mediator issues a report. The parties’ attorneys then coordinate on the drafting of the mediated agreement, and the agreement is then presented the Family Court for approval.
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What are some advantages to mediation?

  • If mediation is successful, the parties leave with the legal dispute resolved.
  • As a result of successful mediation, the parties do not need to pursue trial.
  • The conversations that occur at a mediation are privileged, meaning that they cannot be inquired about in later court proceedings.

What are some disadvantages to mediation?

  • Mediation is an additional cost. The mediator charges an hourly rate for his/her preparation and the time spent in the mediation itself.
  • If the mediation is unsuccessful, it is considered to have reached an impasse. The parties will move on to the pretrial and trial phase.

Ultimately, mandatory mediation is not only a necessary step in a contested case, but it can also prove to be an extremely helpful and efficient step in a divorce or child custody proceeding.

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