Control The Compromises You Make Through Mediation
Mediation is another process by which parties can attempt to resolve issues in a divorce or dissolution. Rather than submitting the unresolved issues to the court and letting the court make the decision, mediation provide the parties with a forum to express and discuss their thoughts and concerns with the assistance of a neutral third-party whose purpose is to facilitate and guide the discussion in a way that is productive.
At the law firm of Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson in Columbus, Ohio, attorney Robert Hawley provides mediation services in addition to his practice as a family law attorney.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation uses a neutral third party (the mediator) to facilitate a series of discussions between the parties about disputed issues. The mediator may be an attorney, but the mediator does not, and cannot, represent either party. The mediator is there to keep the conversation focused on the relevant issues and to ensure that both parties have the opportunity to identify and address their thoughts and concerns. The mediator does not make decisions or suggest solutions, but rather facilitates discussion to assist the parties in reaching their own resolution. If the mediation is successful and the parties are able to reach an agreement, the mediator puts the agreement in writing and the parties then provide the written agreement to their attorneys to be incorporated into the necessary legal documents.
Some Ohio counties require a mediation assessment when the two sides have a dispute over child custody and visitation. Mediation is also an option when the two sides want to try to reach an agreement on issues such as marital property division, child support and spousal support before going to court. While parties are never required to make agreements in mediation, it does provide an opportunity to reach a resolution each can live with, rather than facing the possibility of a court imposing a decision that does not satisfy either party.
Mediation agreements are not binding until they are made an order of the court, even if both parties signed the agreement at the end of the mediation process.
Robert Hawley can provide mediation services whether you are in the process of a dissolution or in a contested divorce.
Should I Use Mediation?
Mediation can be a useful tool for resolving virtually any family law issue, but it is not a substitute for legal representation. It is not the role of a mediator to make decisions or analyze complex financial and legal issues. The mediation process is designed to assist the parties in identifying, discussing and resolving issues either before court action is initiated or prior to a case going to trial.
Couples who seek mediation before going to court will still have to complete the formal documents and requirements to legally finalize their family law matter, which may require one or both parties hiring an attorney. Couples who participate in mediation after a court action is initiated will still need to work with the court and their attorneys to finalize the court action. Thus, mediation can be a first step to terminating a marriage before starting the divorce process or an interim step during the court process to aid in negotiation and resolution.
Schedule A Mediation Assessment
To schedule a consultation about mediation with a lawyer at Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, call 614-556-4231 or fill out the contact form on this website. Our law office is on Fifth Street in downtown Columbus.