Family law mediation is a process for conflict resolution. In mediation, people try to reach agreement with the help of a neutral third party, the mediator. The mediator helps the parties communicate and negotiate but doesn’t make decisions for them. Mediation may be required if the parties agreed to mediation in their parenting order.
Mediation has one great advantage over litigation: the parties themselves get to decide the outcome of the mediation rather than have a court decide an important issue regarding themselves or their children for them. The alternative is that a court makes a decision that will be undesirable to at least one of the parties.
Not all issues are appropriate for mediation. For the most part, financial issues are not subject to mediation by a family law mediator. Also, certain parties are not appropriate persons for mediation. For example, a history of domestic violence may prevent mediation from being successful. Also, mental illness and substance abuse may prevent successful mediation. In performing a mediation, the mediator will try to screen out the cases that are inappropriate for mediation.
The success of mediation is not guaranteed. The mediator will discuss the issue with the parties, will identify topics and objective in mediation, and will assist the parties in discussion of these topic and objectives. However, the mediator will not decide anything for the parties. The parties will make an agreement themselves.
Mr. Brown was trained as a mediator in 2013 and has been on the approved mediator list in Kane County since 2016. Mediation will occur either at the Law Office of Stephen D. Brown or at some other appropriate location mutually agreed to by the parties and mediator. If during the mediation, it becomes clear that the parties are not able to make an agreement regarding any of the disputed issues, the mediation will end at that time. If the parties need additional time to come to an agreement, the mediation may continue beyond the time limits originally set only if both parties agree.