Mediation is a process by which the parties choose an experienced family court attorney and/or a retired judge, both of whom do a lot of mediating in South Carolina. They will have a day or a set number of hours set aside; each party tells the mediator his or her side and the mediator tries to help them find common ground and resolve their issues based on the facts represented by each side.
Mediation is a confidential process. By that I mean that the mediator cannot be called upon to testify to what was said by either party during the mediation process. But the mediator gets a good idea of what the underlying possible angers are, possible insecurities are and tries to help the parties negotiate a settlement between them. Mediators are very helpful, both on the custodial and on the financial end.
Mediation is much, much less expensive than going to trial because you don’t have to subpoena people to court to testify, you have relaxed rules of evidence so you’re able to tell the mediator things or give the mediator things that you might not be able to get in under the rules of evidence to a family court judge.
We liken the mediation process to looking at an iceberg. If you have your case settled through mediation, the mediator gets to look at the entirety of that iceberg, both what is under the water and what is seen above the water. A family court judge, because of rules of evidence, because of witness availability, because of having a bad day will only get to see the tip of the iceberg and will make a decision that governs you and your family based on perhaps less complete information than a mediator would have. So it is a very valuable process and is very successful in South Carolina.
Catherine Hendrix is a partner at the Law Offices of Lester & Hendrix where they are committed to solving divorce and separation issues. Families throughout South Carolina can rely on their team of Attorneys for advice and counsel.