By Attorney Anthony Charles
Increasingly, mediation of divorce and custody disputes is becoming the norm.
In South Carolina, there are currently 33 counties that require mediation of Family Court disputes. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) rules require that prior to any Family Court case being set for a final hearing or trial in these counties, the parties are required to attend mediation. Mediation is conducted by a neutral third party with the goal of aiding the parties to communicate in an effort to reach a resolution of their case. Mediation allows the parties involved to creatively craft their own agreement through negotiation and compromise and remove themselves from the often contentious and costly realm of family court litigation.
Each party's role in mediation is to be active and engaged in the process, knowing that if they are, it is often possible that the parties can walk away from mediation with a signed agreement, essentially ending their case. Family Court mediation allows the parties to avoid a notoriously backlogged Family Court docket, as well as the expense associated with extensive discovery, depositions, and trial. Most importantly, Family Court mediation allows the parties involved to avoid the emotional toll of a long and drawn out case, especially when there are children involved.
Mediation offers the parties an element of control over their case. At a contested final trial, the Family Court Judge is the only person that controls the outcome of the case. At a mediation session, the parties can take the settlement of their case into their own hands. Mediation focuses on reaching a settlement that looks forward into the future as opposed to trial which often runs thousands of dollars simply dragging the parties back into the past.
The South Carolina Board of Arbitrator and Mediator Certification has certified that Anthony J. Charles is approved to serve as family court mediator, effective July 21, 2014. Mr. Charles has completed the family court mediation training program required by the ADR rules and is a firm and passionate believer in the mediation process. Please consider contacting Mr. Charles or having your attorney contact Mr. Charles regarding the mediation of your Family Court case.