Law Office of Aida Doss Havel
PO Box 676
Rodanthe, NC 27968
Mediation is a useful alternative to litigation which allows the parties to have a good deal of control over the outcome of their separation and divorce. It is private, less expensive than litigation, and allow for the input of both parties. It is, however, still somewhat adversarial, in that it is a bit of a game to see “How much can I get?” or “What will I have to give up to get what I want?”
Mediation usually involves five people: each party, his or her attorney, and the mediator. One party and his or her attorney is in one room, and the other party and his or her attorney is in the other room. The mediator goes back and forth, carrying proposals and counterproposals, trying to reach a final agreement.
Sometimes parties retain a mediator to mediate between them without either of them having an attorney. This choice works well when the parties can talk with one another, but need a neutral third party to guide the flow of the conversation and refocus the parties if the onversdation goes in unplanned directions.
Because mediation is still a bit of an exercise in seeing how skillful a negotiator one side or one attorney is, it does not have many of the benefits of collaborative law. That is, each party is still looking out for himself or herself, rather than trying to see the bigger picture and what is better for the (former) family as a whole.
Mediation is required in custody cases which are filed in North Carolina (with a couple of exceptions), and is also frequently used to resolve issues of property and debt division prior to going to trial.
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