Mediation is a means of resolving disputes without litigation, or resolving disputes prior to trial. Mediation is mandated for most civil cases with an amount in controversy of more than $25,000. The family court rules require mediation of all cases involving contested custody and visitation issues.
During this process, an impartial mediator facilitates the negotiations of the dispute, helping the involved parties reach a compromise. Mediators are required to undergo training before being certified by the court. The mediator is not a decision maker, but rather a neutral third party who has direct control of the mediation process.
If a settlement is reached, it is by agreement of the parties as a result of the discussions of all the issues of the dispute. All communications exchanged by the parties during mediation are confidential and privileged and cannot be used in the trial of the case in the event the mediation is not successful. Since the parties control the outcome, it is often a very successful tool for settling a dispute.
If you are in need of a certified mediator, make your first call to Babb & Bixler.