Mediation is an excellent alternative to litigation. This is especially true of family law disputes. Instead of fighting for your best interest in the courtroom, mediation allows both parties to sit and listen to what the other has to say.
A family mediator can help people resolve disagreements about child support, pre-ups, divorce, property division and other family matters. Before taking you family disputes to court, consider speaking with a mediator first.
Family Law Mediator in Chester County, PA
If you would like more control over the outcome of your family dispute, contact the experienced mediators at Ciccarelli Law Offices. Our legal team provides quality-mediating services for parties dealing with divorce, child custody or child support disputes.
Don’t delay. The longer you wait to resolve the issues, the greater the chance of it not getting resolved.
Call (610) 692-8700 or send an online message for a free consultation so we can act as soon as possible. We are based in West Chester PA and serve clients throughout Chester County, Lancaster County and suburban Philadelphia including West Chester, Kennett Square, Oxford, West Grove, Paoli, Malvern, Downingtown, Coatesville, Exton, Parkesburg, Berwyn and Devon. We have convenient meeting locations in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, and Radnor. Our family lawyers serve those with immediate legal needs in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Lancaster County.
Ciccarelli Law Offices helps mediate issues for clients in counties that include Chester County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County and Montgomery County.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a structured process that involves a neutral third party helping two or more people come together and try to find a solution to a problem. The neutral third-party is called a mediator and they are not allowed to offer any legal advice. Unlike a judge, lawyer or arbitrator, a mediator does not take sides or make decisions on behalf of the involved parties.
The main goal of mediation is for all parties to find a solution to their problem that all of them can agree on. Solving the problem, not imposing legal rules or uncovering the truth is the main focus. Mediators have no authority to enforce a decision, and nothing will be decided unless all parties agree.
This approach is far different than the procedures of a courtroom. Knowing that the outcome of the session cannot be enforced, the tension among the parties is reduced. If the mediation does not result in an agreement, either party is free to file suit.
The Mediation Process
Many people assume that mediation is an informal process where a friendly mediator speaks with the opposing parties until they suddenly come to a common ground. Mediation is actually a multi-stage process that is designed to produce results. While the process is less formal than trial or arbitration, there are distinct stages that need to be followed for the session to be successful.
The length of the process will depend on the issue that needs to be resolved, but it can take as little as a few hours to a month or two. Regardless of how long it takes, the mediation process takes place in the following steps:
Mediator’s Opening Statement: After all parties are gathered in a neutral location, the mediator will introduce everyone and explain the rules and goals of the mediation. The mediator will also encourage every party to work together to achieve a common goal.
Disputant’s Opening Statements: Every party will be asked to describe, in their own words, what the dispute is about. They will be asked to explain how they have been affected by it and present thoughts on how to resolve it. When one person is speaking, no one else is allowed to interrupt.
Joint Discussion: During this step, the mediator will attempt to get all parties to talk with one another about what was said during opening statements. This time is also used to determine what issues should be addressed.
Private Caucuses: This is the bulk of the mediation process. Each party will have a chance to meet privately with the mediator. This is normally done in a nearby room where the mediator and individual will discuss their position on the situation and ideas on how to settle it. The mediator may decide to speak with each side once, or numerous times.
Joint Negotiation: Once the mediator has spoken with everyone individually, they will bring the parties back together and have them directly negotiate with each other.
Closure: This is the end of the mediation process. If an agreement was reached, the mediator will put the main provisions in writing. Each party may be asked to sign the written agreement or be asked to take it to their lawyer for review.
If an agreement wasn’t reached, the mediator will review the progress that was made and advise the party of their options. These options could include meeting again, attending arbitration or going to court. Your attorney can help you decide which option is best for your situation.
A Lawyers Role During Mediation
A lawyer’s role is not irrelevant during mediation. They can help you find a qualified mediator that is well vested in mediating the issues you are dealing with. An attorney can also prepare you for the process and inform you of the necessary steps.
Lawyers are not required to be present during mediation, but they can help when resolving difficult issues such a property division or child support. Plus, most mediators recommend that each party have their own legal representation so they can review the proposed agreement before it’s signed.
Additional Resources for Mediation in Chester County, PA
Role of Attorney in Mediation Process– View a PDF from the American Bar Association about the roles of an attorney in the mediation process. You can learn about the extent of a lawyer’s participation in the process and the various roles they can assume.
Voluntary Mediation in Custody Action| PA Rules of Civil Procedure– Sometimes mediation is used to resolve child custody disputes. Read the full text of the code that defines the duty of a mediator, how mediation is defined and the penalties against those who fail to comply with the agreement.
Family Law Mediator in Chester County, PA
If you believe litigation is not the way to resolve your family dispute, contact Ciccarelli Law Offices. We provide mediation services for a variety of family disputes to clients in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Schedule a free case consultation with us today. Call (610) 692-8700 or submit your information in the online contact form. We assist clients in areas that include West Chester, Philadelphia, Kennett Square, Springfield, Malvern, King of Prussia, Radnor, Plymouth Meeting and many more.