Rock Hill Mediation Lawyer
First of all, in Rock Hill, SC, we have mandatory mediation, meaning that the majority of cases before the family court, including divorce in Rock Hill, separation, and contested custody cases, all must to go through mediation before trial, or otherwise settle. There are narrow circumstances where a case can be “exempt” from mediation, such as the inability of the parties to attend mediation. This process is going to involve the parties to the case and their attorneys, if they have attorneys, as well as a neutral third party, who is going to help them hear out their issues and desired outcome and help the parties to reach an agreement. For assistance with each step of this process, a Rock Hill mediation lawyer could help.
How a Mediation Works
The mediator is trying to get the couple to come to a mutual agreement. However, before parties even get to a formal mediation, cases can be settled between attorneys or just between parties on their own. This can be done by a settlement conference, which is an informal meeting between the parties and attorneys to sit down and try to come to an agreement themselves, or the attorneys can do it via correspondence or telephone calls to exchange proposals and try to resolve the case to save their clients’ money.
Although there is mandatory mediation prior to final hearings in South Carolina, generally speaking, the vast majority of family law cases still go through a court process called a temporary hearing. Temporary hearings are hearings before a family court judge to essentially set a standard or baseline of what’s going to happen during the case. For example, if it’s a divorce action, then a party can file the action and have a temporary hearing as quickly as possible to establish who will have temporary possession of certain property, as well as temporary custody and visitation arrangements. These hearings are done with no oral testimony; the only pieces of evidence presented are written affidavits and other documentation. Temporary hearings are usually very short, 15- to 30-minute hearings, where the written evidence is presented and quick arguments or statements of attorneys can be presented. The orders or judgments that result from temporary hearings can be in effect up to one year. The temporary hearings also include things like scheduling a mediation within a certain period of time, having an order of discovery so that each side can submit written questions or interrogatories to the other party or perhaps send a subpoena for more information on assets.
Reaching a Mutually Beneficial Agreement
As a family law practitioner in Rock Hill, I believe that the mediation process does a great job of helping parties come to a mutually beneficial settlement agreement. I am also a firm believer that when parties come to an agreement, each person is allowed to have more control over the outcome of their case and the facts and circumstances that they are going to have to live with going forward. Attorneys can sometimes, unfortunately, fall into the trap of just trying to win or just trying to bill out their clients, rather than help their clients resolve their cases. My approach has always been to assist the client in recognizing their goals and options, and seeking an outcome that works for the individual client; this is their financial stability, their children and their life.
However, not every case can settle, and unfortunately, in some cases, you do have to go to trial, and that’s okay, but I typically explain to people that once we go into that courtroom, the judge has so much broad power. While as their attorney, I can advise them on the things that might happen or what might be a good case or good arguments, the outcome is in someone else’s hands, so a settlement or a mediated agreement may, ultimately, be their best option.
Retain a Rock Hill Mediation Attorney for Help
The most successful outcome would be coming to a mutually beneficial or mutually advantageous agreement that works for you and your family and protects you financially. The most successful outcome would be one that quickly, easily, and amicably resolves your issues in a way that protects you going forward and is a good fit for you and your family. That may be, hopefully, done through an agreement, and, if children are involves, retains an amicable co-parent relationship for the benefit of the minor children.
For more information on how this process works, call a Rock Hill mediation lawyer today.