SC: Mediation

In South Carolina, the Supreme Court has designated mandatory mediation, which requires that people who are involved in family court lawsuits must schedule and attend mediation together prior to having their domestic claims set for trial in the courtroom. It has become more common for parties to be able to resolve their issues with the assistance of their attorneys and a trained mediator, resulting in the parties walking out of mediation with a signed agreement which settles all the issues at hand.  Whether parties are ordered to mediation or agree to voluntarily attend mediation, their attorneys work together to select an experienced, trained mediator, or a retired family court judge, and then schedule a mediation date. Care is taken to select a mediator who is a good match for the personalities of the parties and the issues presented.  We take time to get to know you, your spouse, and your issues before recommending a mediator, as we strongly believe doing so increases your chance of success in mediation.

The Mediation Process

Prior to mediation, the mediator will gather information about the case from the attorneys so that he or she is fully informed and up to speed on all issues in the case. At mediation, the mediator works as a neutral third party to negotiate a resolution on all issues between the parties. The mediator’s job is to settle the case – and he or she should work hard to do just that. A successful resolution at mediation requires a compromise from both sides, but in South Carolina, when two parties are willing to work together to resolve their issues outside of the courtroom, there is a high likelihood that both parties will walk away feeling like they negotiated an agreeable resolution for everyone involved.  A mediated settlement is often the best chance of parties having a result that works.  Judges do the best that they can do with the information that time and the rules of evidence allow them to hear. But the personal nature of family conflicts makes judicial rulings less tailored to the families’ needs.  It takes time to prepare for a mediation, but it is still less time than required to prepare for trial.