Divorce Mediation in South Carolina: How to Stay Out of the Courtroom
In a Divorce Mediation in South Carolina, an independent third party called a mediator will try to help the parties resolve the contested divorce issues. Mediation is an informal and confidential process in which both sides try to resolve as many issues as possible prior to going to trial. The mediator is not a judge and cannot make a decision on any of the contested issues. Any settlement is voluntary and in the absence of a settlement, the parties do not lose any of their rights.
Is Divorce Mediation in South Carolina Mandatory?
Almost all counties in South Carolina now require mediation in Family Court cases. While you cannot be forced to settle your case and all settlements are voluntary if they occur during mediation, you are required to participate in the mediation in good faith with resolution of the case as your goal. While there is debate about whether a party is required to mediate for a specified amount of time, the general consensus is that most mediations should last at least four hours before the mediator declares an impasse and informs the court that the case did not resolve at mediation. Each party is typically equally responsible for the cost of the mediator.
How Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is often a successful way to resolve contested family court issues without the cost of a lengthy trial (which sometimes can take months to have scheduled due to the backlog of most family court dockets). The most common issues that are often resolved in mediation include:
- Custody and visitation,
- Child Support
- Equitable division of marital assets,
- Payment of attorneys’ fees and other costs,
If the parties are successful in reaching an agreement, the parties, together with their counsel and the mediator will usually reduce the terms to writing in what is known as a settlement agreement. The parties will then seek approval of the agreement by the Family Court.
Do I Still Need an Attorney for Divorce Mediation in South Carolina?
If you are planning to attend a divorce mediation, it is highly recommended that you have a divorce attorney on your side to protect your interests. The Divorce Attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC understand what is at stake and will do everything we can to help you achieve a favorable outcome. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.