Mediation FAQ

Who is eligible for divorce mediation?

All separating and divorcing couples are eligible for mediation in the state of North Carolina. The state legislature has made it mandatory that all separating and divorcing couples attempt mediation for family financial (property distribution) before they can bring their case to court. Mediation is not strictly limited to just property distribution, but can also include parenting (custody), spousal support, and child support. A referral from an attorney is not necessary to begin mediation and the only time a court will order mediation is when the couple cannot agree on who should be the mediator. Couples are free to hire a mediator of their choice that they feel can help them through a difficult season of their lives.

What can mediation do for you?

Through mediation, you and your spouse can:

  • Stabilize the situation through a temporary agreement made between the couple either prior to or shortly after separation in order to clarify how temporary living arrangements and insurance requirements are to be handled for the couple and any children involved
  • Make decisions regarding child and spousal support or any distribution of property required by either of the parties to set up separate living quarters
  • Construct a final settlement of their marital transition so when the separation period ends, the final process can be completed in the shortest period of time. Each party can then move on with their lives.

Are all mediation practices Client-Centered?

No. There is a difference in Client-Centered mediation and Law-Focused mediation. Client- Centered mediation uses the approach of divorce being a personal problem between the couple and not necessarily a legal problem. It focuses on future planning and not on the cause of the conflict. The decisions that the two people in the room make are the most important aspect of Client-Centered mediation, not who is right or wrong. Law-Focused mediation concentrates on a standard of fairness that is used to determine if the settlement will fit into what the law will either allow or approve.

How is mediation different from adversarial combative divorce?

In mediation, especially Client-Centered mediation, the couple meets with the mediator and works out a temporary settlement agreement. With this temporary agreement, they can begin the required separation period. During this period, the couple meets with the mediator again in several sessions; number and length of sessions is determined by the couple. Negotiations use the mediator as a facilitator and neutral party towards a final settlement. During these sessions, the couple can voluntarily exchange all necessary information and statements in confidence without fear of incrimination if there is a stalemate. They will be able to work out compromises on issues that a court has neither the interest nor the time to accommodate. Although divorce is an emotional experience for both parties, mediation can quell some of that emotion by allowing a person to be heard. Mediation can also be less expensive since you and your spouse control how long you want to work together to reach an agreement. Also, post-divorce decisions can be mediated instead of using the costly legal system.

In the adversary system, built on an ancient British practice of having lawyers represent each side and present the case to a judge or jury, the two attorneys file papers with the court for temporary orders; your spouses attorney can also file these same papers contesting your order. If not settled by the lawyers, there is a court hearing. These orders can later be changed by filing more papers and having more hearings; this can go on for months. Next you will go into the phase of interrogatories and discovery. Here allegations and subpoenas are the order of the day. Anyone can be summoned if there is information that can be used to win the case. You might also be obligated to hire expert witnesses and consultants. Every move within the legal system costs time, money, and emotional stress on yourself and your children.

What is involved with meeting with Rowan Mediation?

This is as simple as calling and setting an appointment for a free consultation. At this consultation you will meet the mediator and he will describe the mediation process fully and provide you ample time to ask any questions you may have. It is recommended that the couple come to this consultation together. Rowan Mediation does not charge a retainer for its services. You, the client, are always in charge of the process.

Will Your Mediator Give You Legal Advise?

No, Mediators are refrained from giving you legal advise and will not and should not offer legal opinions as to the outcome of your case, nor legal advise about specific legal questions you may have. You and your spouse will be advised at your Free consultation about obtaining legal advise either through your own attorneys or independent councels of your choosing.