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Tuesday May 10, 2016

Mediating Family Court Disputes
posted by Rebecca A. Smither
Tags: In the news 

Within the past week, I have scheduled several mediation sessions involving cases in my domestic relations practice. These mediation sessions will address conflicts between parties which include, but are not limited to, child custody and support, distribution of a martial estate and post-decree modification of a parenting time schedule.

If you have an ongoing case in Family Court, or you are preparing to file a new action, chances are that you will find yourself having been ordered to mediation as well. In Jefferson County, and many of the surrounding counties, Family Courts require that litigants involved in dissolution of marriage actions, as well as child custody, support and visitation matters attend mediation prior to scheduling a final trial date. There are exceptions to this required attendance in certain circumstances, such as when the parties have a history of domestic violence and it would not be safe or feasible to force the parties to attend mediation.

There are many advantages to attending mediation in family court matters. First, often times the mediator can spend much more time with the parties, whereas Judges are restricted to time limitations. The parties have more say in the outcome of the dispute. And, very often, mediation assists in resolving the matter well before the matter would otherwise be resolved if the parties were to attend trial.

Of course, not all matters can be resolved in mediation. And there is an hourly expense for attending.

When scheduling mediation for your case, it is extremely important that you are familiar with the choices in mediators who may be appointed to assist your case. There are several excellent Family Court mediators; but certain mediators can assist transitioning families in different ways depending on the particular needs and facts of the case at hand. If you are not familiar with the various mediator options, then it is important to have an attorney on your side who can assist you in the process.

To speak further regarding Family Court mediation requirements and options, contact me, Rebecca A. Smither, at 502-254-2110 or via email at