Mediation offers clients the opportunity to resolve their disputes with one another before an attorney, not a judge, who acts as the mediator. Both parties are still entitled to their own legal representation but the environment is far less stressful than a full-blown trial.
The mediator is a neutral third party with no stake in the outcome of the dispute. Their role is to preside over the proceedings and facilitate the negotiations of the parties and assist them in reaching an agreement in which both parties are satisfied.
Concord mediation attorney Aimee E. Cain is a mediator certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission as well as a certified Family Financial Mediator and is able to assist her clients in the capacity most suited to their needs.
In North Carolina, parties are now required to mediate disputes related to equitable distribution (the division of martial assets) and may use mediation to resolve other divorce matters such as alimony, child custody, support, and visitation.
Under the Family Financial Settlement Program (FFSP), the parties incur the cost of mediation, unless there is a finding by the court that a party is indigent. The parties may select a mediator of their choice or the court will appoint one. Court-appointed mediators are paid a pre-determined hourly rate in addition to a one-time administrative fee, whereas mediators selected by the parties are paid pursuant to their own agreement.
The mediation may take place in a designated space at the courthouse or the office of the mediator or an attorney. If the parties do not reach a settlement agreement, the case will proceed to trial. Many cases that do not initially settle at mediation, however, do so prior to reaching trial.
The North Carolina Custody and Visitation Mediation Program is for parents seeking to resolve their disputes related to the custody and visitation of their children at no cost to the parties. Prior to the case being set for trial, the court refers the parents to this program, which requires they attend an orientation session and at least one full mediation session in an effort to reach a settlement.
While the court does not require parents to come to an agreement here, it mandates that an effort be made by both sides to resolve their dispute without the necessity of going to trial.
Litigation is not the only option available to family law clients. Aimee E. Cain and her Concord mediation law firm are equipped to represent clients in mediation conferences whether they require the skill of a North Carolina attorney or mediator. Contact her to discuss your case.