Mediation is a popular and effective tool used to resolve family law disputes in Missouri. As a seasoned Missouri family law attorney, I'm here to explain what mediation in family law is, its benefits, and how it works in the State of Missouri.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) where a neutral third party, the mediator, assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator does not decide the case but helps the parties communicate and negotiate.
Role of Mediation in Family Law
Mediation is commonly used in family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and property division. It provides an opportunity for parties to maintain control over the outcome and resolve their disputes in a less confrontational manner than traditional court proceedings.
The Mediation Process in Missouri
1. Selection of the Mediator: The parties agree on a mediator who is typically an experienced family law attorney or retired judge.
2. Initial Meeting: The mediator explains the process, sets the ground rules, and encourages open communication.
3. Negotiation: The parties discuss their issues and explore possible solutions. The mediator may meet with each party privately in what is known as a "caucus."
4. Agreement: If an agreement is reached, it is typically put in writing and can be submitted to the court for approval.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation can be less stressful and less expensive than traditional litigation. It also allows the parties to control the outcome and can help preserve relationships by fostering cooperative problem-solving.
Involvement of an Attorney
While the mediator facilitates the discussion, your family law attorney can provide valuable legal advice, help you understand your rights and options, and ensure your interests are protected during the mediation process.
Mediation in family law can be an effective way to resolve disputes and maintain control over your case's outcome. An experienced Missouri family law attorney can provide guidance and advocacy during this process.