The Mediation Process in South Carolina

Receive a mediation order? Now what?

The Mediation Process in South Carolina 

Have you been ordered to mediation by the South Carolina Family Court?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) utilized by courts in family law disputes, particularly divorce and custody cases. Mediation offers individuals an opportunity to save themselves the expense and stress of contested litigation. Meanwhile, mediation serves the court by decluttering an overburdened docket.

You may be shocked the court has ordered mediation for your dispute. Don’t panic! Here is a simple guide to help you get the most out of the mediation process:

  1. Come prepared with all relevant documents. One of the main issues in most divorce mediations is the division of assets and debt. In order to determine who gets what, we must first know what property is in play. Is there a house, cars, maybe even a business? Whatever the case may be, documentation of all assets must be readily available during the mediation process.
  2. Put your emotions on hold. No one is in mediation because they are BFFs with the other party. Understandably, people are inclined to bring heightened emotion to the negotiating table. Emotion, however, is the worst thing you can possibly bring to your mediation. There will be an opportunity to throw darts at your ex’s picture after the fact. For now, let it go and focus on what you need to resolve the situation.
  3. Be ready to negotiate, not argue. Consider the prior relationship you have with the other party. Did you communicate well? Probably not, or you wouldn’t find yourself at odds with them. So, put your combative instincts on hold and hone in on what is really important to you. Give serious thought to how you can compromise. Prioritize your realistic wants and needs. And most importantly, have open, honest communication with your attorney.
  4. Get real about your rights and obligations. Discuss with your attorney ahead of time what your responsibilities may be, legally. We are all eager to know what we are entitled to, but often forget to consider what we may be required to give. Will your ex be entitled to support? Half of your home or business? Knowing the facts before you arrive at the table is crucial to achieving your desired outcome.
  5. Hire the right attorney. Everyone going through conflict wants an attorney who is going to zealously fight for their best interest. But what does “best interest” really mean? Is it helpful for your attorney to be so aggressive and hostile, court is the only option? While it might feel briefly satisfying to watch your lawyer lay out all the ways your ex is a cotton-headed-ninny-muggings, that satisfaction is brief! When the dust settles and your anger subsides, you will be stuck with the consequences of the choices you made. Find an attorney who guides you through the mediation process with confidence, compassion, and candor.

*Cough* Dana Adkins, Attorney at Law *Cough*

Are you looking for an experienced attorney in Charleston to help you through the mediation process?  Dana Adkins provides compassionate, candid and dedicated services to her clients.  Hire her for your divorce attorney by contacting (843) 486-2442 or emailing her at info@danaadkinslaw.com