Their main objective is to mediate any issues a family might have and then come to a decision that will benefit both parties. This is especially true if children are involved in the family issues. A family law mediator is generally an attorney but some are professionals that are certified in family dispute resolution. Some of the cases they handle concern support issues, divorce, and child custody. To keep current on jurisdictional regulations and family law issues they have to attend training seminars.
Responsibilities of a family law mediator
One responsibility is for them to act as a family counselor when couples are having trouble getting along but do not want a divorce. This is called family counseling mediation. The mediator will listen to both parties in order to get to the real issue that is causing the marital conflict. Some of the common issues that can cause a conflict in a marriage can include:
• Relationship issues like infidelity, lack of attention, etc
• Behavioral changes from outside influences
• Grief over the loss of their child
In most situations, the mediator will listen to each party’s complaints, and if necessary, talk to the children or other members of the family. The mediator will generally recommend that the couple see a therapist, then return to see the mediator.
They also mediate situations where the couple is convinced getting a divorce is in their best interest. They may need legal guidance on child custody and property division. Many times, they have their own attorney who will advise the family law mediator what their client wants from the divorce. The mediator will review all documents concerning debts, salary information, joint assets, and expenses incurred on behalf of the children. The couple will meet with the couple several times in order to reach an agreement that both parties agree on before they submit the document to the family court judge to be approved.
A family law mediator may also work with programs like Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This program appoints a mediator to assist a family that has disputes that were not resolved before going to court or may be unable to afford a family law lawyer. The mediator will receive an appointment from the court to mediate the case. The family law mediator will notify the couple of the locations, time, and date of the mediations. The mediation session will have to be rescheduled if either one of the couple cannot attend the scheduled mediation.
Mediating the case
• Filing agreements with the court
• Letting the parties know about case updates
• Sending mediation reports to the judge
• Billing mediation time and sending clients invoices