After the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or the filing of a motion related to parenting issues most counties require that the parties attend mediation. This service is provided by the county free of cost but may have a long waiting period. Another consideration is private mediation.
A private mediator is a private attorney who oversees the mediation process between two parties and uses his/her expertise in the area of family law to come up with a fair and equitable agreement. The benefit of utilizing private mediation is that the mediator is an attorney in the area of family law and can better answer questions and control the parties’ expectations as to what a judge would ultimately order.
In addition, a private mediator has more resources and can better accommodate the parties, both in time and accessibility. For example, the mediator can accelerate the process of mediation by avoiding long waiting times, and can accommodate long-distance parties by using skype, facetime, or other technological advantage which the local county will not do.
Finally, the parties are able to form a long-term bond with the mediator who can assist the parties on any future disputes without having to go through a new mediator who is unfamiliar with the case. However, private mediation is not free. Like any private attorney, most private mediators charge an hourly fee and some require a minimum number of hours.
On the contrary, mediation through the county is free and can achieve the same purpose as private mediation so long as they do not involve financial matters. This type of mediation would be ideal for issues relating to parenting time and other parenting issues. If you feel your case could benefit from mediation or need advice as to what strategy to pursue given the facts in your case, talk to an attorney to discuss the options in your case.