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What is Family Mediation?

Children and finances are major concerns at the end of a marriage or civil partnership. You want to do the best you can for your children, but resolving the complicated issues related to childcare arrangements and household finances can be incredibly difficult.

For over 30 years, we have been helping families through situations just like yours. It takes more than just a competent legal mind in times like these; it takes a compassionate person to truly understand and effectively find a solution that is best for everyone involved.

Family mediation is where a trained, skilled, neutral legal professional helps you and your ex come to an agreement on a variety of issues, including:

  • Dividing assets and debts
  • Sharing time with your children
  • Child support payments
  • Resolving insurance and tax issues

Advantages of Family Mediation vs Litigation

These issues are often resolved by judges after hard-fought trials. But, litigation has some significant disadvantages:

  1. Litigation and trials are incredibly expensive!
  2. At trial, you have no control over the outcome. The judge does.
  3. Children get sucked into the dispute.
  4. Your and your spouse’s families align with each of you.
  5. Your relationship with your spouse will likely be worse, not better, after a trial.
  6. A litigated result is the slowest result.

Judges encourage parties to mediate.

Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) method, and helps avoid or minimize many of these disadvantages.

The advantages of family mediation include:

  • Control. Mediation is cooperative process where you won’t have to agree to anything with which you are uncomfortable.
  • They are Unbiased. A mediator is neutral; Their only goal is to help both you and your ex come to fair agreement
  • Confidential. Family mediation takes your privacy seriously, everything discussed in mediation will remain private.
  • Faster. Mediations take place before trial dates arrive, so they are the faster alternative.
  • Cheaper. Resolving your dispute by mediation is not inexpensive, but it is not nearly as expensive as going to trial.
  • Child-inclusive. When parents desire, the mediation process can provide for the children’s input.

What Makes Family Mediation Successful?

Family mediation relies on the following principles to ensure a successful process:

  • Voluntary. The family mediation process must be voluntary to be successful. No one can force you into mediation
  • Transparent. The confidential family mediation process is only successful when both parties are honest about their disagreements and expectations
  • Mutual Respect. Mediation is more likely to result in agreement when both parties respect each other and respect the process

What Services Does Family Mediation Include?

Family mediation covers a broad range of topics, typically within divorce or paternity litigation, including:

  • Allocating ownership of assets and responsibility to pay debts.
  • Setting schedules to share children’s time with their parents.
  • Identifying tax and insurance issues
  • Calculating child support obligations per state guideline requirements.
  • Addressing spousal support claims.
  • Changing names.
  • …and more.

Family mediation is a delicate process; you need a trained and experienced mediator to help you sort through the many issues confronting your family during this process. Our lawyers serve as mediators and also as advocates in cases mediated by others.

At Gjesdahl Law, we are driven by compassion to use our experience and education to help families like yours find the most amicable resolution possible for family law disputes. We hope you will contact us to learn more about how mediation can help your family.

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Leah J. duCharme

A native of Aberdeen, South Dakota, Leah is a Senior Shareholder at Gjesdahl Law, P.C. After graduating from Moorhead State University, she joined the firm in 2000 as a parale…
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