Don't Want to Litigate? Mediation is Becoming a Popular Alternative in North Carolina

Mediation is becoming a popular alternative to litigation in North Carolina. Miller Bowles Law has seen an influx of clients choosing to mediate rather than litigate their family law disputes.

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Charlotte, North Carolina (PRWEB) February 04, 2013

Mediation is quickly becoming a more favored alternative to litigation in North Carolina. Miller Bowles Law has seen an influx of clients choosing to mediate rather than litigate their family law disputes. In most family law cases in North Carolina, some form of mediation is required before a case can be set for trial. The idea behind this requirement is that parties to these types of cases should make an effort to attempt to resolve their issues outside of Court before undertaking the risk and delay involved in lengthy litigation and trial. There are thousands of family law cases filed each year in North Carolina, and it would be impossible for the Court to have a trial for each and every issue in each and every case. Mediation is not a way for the parties to get everything they want, but it can be a means to satisfy many of the parties’ needs and enable them to move on with their life.

Mediation in North Carolina is an informal proceeding. A mediator, a trained neutral with no stake in the outcome of the dispute, meets with both parties and their attorneys to help discuss the issues involved and consider options for resolving them. The mediator will work to facilitate communication between the parties, help clarify each party’s needs and positions, and explore settlement options. The mediator’s ultimate goal is to help both parties reach their own agreement.

In most child custody cases in North Carolina, mediation is required. However, if a party lives too far from the courthouse, or if domestic violence is an issue, the requirement for custody mediation may be waived. Child custody mediation will only address the issue of custody, and attorneys will not be present. The parties and their attorneys will be given the opportunity to review any mediated agreement prior to signing and making the agreement permanent. In child support cases in North Carolina, mediation can often result in an agreement if both parties are W-2 workers and there are no issues of extraordinary expenses. However, many child support cases involve self-employed and unemployed persons. In those cases, coming to an agreement can be more complicated, but it is never impossible. As all parents know, providing for the welfare of the children is the paramount concern during any family law proceeding related to child support.

Equitable distribution cases in North Carolina can be mediated either by a private mediation session with a paid mediator and the parties’ attorneys, or through a judicial settlement conference with a Judge who is not assigned to the case. Some form of mediation is required in all equitable distribution cases before they will be tried by a Judge. Alimony cases in North Carolina are typically grouped together with equitable distribution cases when being mediated. This is due to the interrelated nature of the financial support and property distribution result. For example, one party may need more alimony financial support if that party will be receiving the marital residence so as to keep up with the mortgage payment.

The ultimate goal of mediation is for the parties to reach an agreement on all of their issues, thereby avoiding litigation entirely. However, it is important for the parties to understand that, if all of the issues are not successfully mediated, the mediation has not been a failure. Often the lines of communication opened during the mediation process stay open as the parties continue through the litigation process, thereby making the process easier than it might have been. Mediation is an excellent tool for those involved in a family law dispute to move forward with their lives as quickly and painlessly as possible. Speak with the attorneys at Miller Bowles Law to discuss mediation as an option for your family law dispute.

Miller Bowles Law is a full-service Charlotte Family Law firm located in the historic district of Dilworth in Charlotte, North Carolina. The attorneys at Miller Bowles Law have over 15 years of combined experience in representing clients in Charlotte family law cases and family law cases in surrounding counties including Union, Gaston, Iredell, and beyond. Our mission, simply stated, is to provide the highest-quality legal representation to our clients so that each feels supported and well-prepared to face the family law court system.


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