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Anderson, IN Family Mediation
Many individuals find family mediation useful and a more pleasant experience than battling out a sensitive issue in court. You may choose to resolve most issues within your divorce through mediation, from dividing assets to determining custody and when spousal maintenance is appropriate. You and an ex-spouse or other parent may choose to utilize mediation when new issues arise, months or years after your divorce or the original child custody agreement was final.
Whatever you exact situation or needs, a mediation lawyer at GDS Law Group, LLP is here to help. We want to put our years of experience in family matters and mediation to work for you. We can help you prepare for a successful mediation conference, whether this was your first choice or not. We can advise you on how to get the most out of mediation, making it both productive and cost-effective. If mediation fails, we are also ready to represent you in court regarding your divorce, child custody, or child support.
When Family Mediation Is Useful
Family law mediation is most helpful when you and the other party are willing to communicate, are relatively in agreement on the important issues, and are willing to compromise. If you and the other party have a difficult time maintaining a conversation without it becoming a heated argument, mediation may not be an appropriate avenue. If you and the other party have significantly different ideas on how to resolve the issues are one or both of you are unable to compromise, it is best to speak with an attorney about resolving the issues in court.
Family Court Mediation May Be Required
While mediation is often a voluntary process, there are also times when local family courts will require mediation. In Marion County, if your case is estimated to take more than two hours of the court’s time, you will be required to go through mediation first to resolve as much as you can. You also must go to mediation first for child-related issues that arise after a divorce is final, other than for contempt of court issues. In Madison County, all petitions for divorce or legal separation, and many child matters are automatically referred to mediation.
If you are worried about mandatory mediation and you truly believe it will be unsuccessful, contact a mediation lawyer at GDS Law Group, LLP right away. We will review your situation with you to determine if there is enough to ask for a waiver from the court. We must be able to show good cause as to why you should be allowed to bypass mediation and take your matter directly to a judge.
The Benefits of Divorcing Through Mediation
There are many potential benefits of utilizing mediation during your divorce, including:
- Avoid the courtroom as much as possible.
- Keep your children out of court.
- Show your children their parents can work together.
- Keep the situation from becoming contentious.
- Create customized solutions for your family.
- Negotiate a more thorough divorce settlement.
- Resolve issues faster.
- Generate fewer attorneys’ fees.
With mediation, if all goes well, you can get through your divorce faster and cheaper than if you and your spouse choose to fight in court. Those are the practical and financial considerations though. Mediation also has a number of potential emotional benefits. For many people, court can feel like a cold and impersonal process that adds to the emotional difficulties of ending their marriage. Mediation is a process that can allow you and your spouse to be open, communicate, and maintain your dignity as you walk away from a marriage that was not working.
When you go through this process with a divorce mediation lawyer by your side, you can be confident that your rights are protected and your personal interests are considered before you reach an agreement. Not being in court does not mean that you cannot protect your rights and obtain what you are entitled to under the law. At GDS Law Group, LLP, we have years of experience in offering divorce mediation services. Our lawyers are well-prepared to guide you through the mediation process. We are also ready to participate as a neutral party. Attorney Nicholas Dandurand is a registered mediator. To learn more, contact us today.
Child Custody Mediation
Whether or not you are going through a divorce, you may benefit from child custody and child support mediation. As parents, you want what is best for your children. You know them better than anyone, and you may feel you are far more capable of devising an appropriate parenting plan than a judge who might meet them once. If you and your child’s other parent can sit down and work through all of the aspects of a comprehensive parenting plan, then child custody mediation may be right for you.
A mediation attorney can help you and the other parent determine:
- How your child will divide their time between your homes.
- How you will make parenting exchanges.
- Who will provide and pay for child care.
- How you will each handle sick days and unexpected days off from day care or school.
- How you will celebrate holidays, including days off from school.
- How you will celebrate birthdays.
- How you will handle surprise changes to your schedules.
When you and your child’s other parent work out a child custody and parenting time schedule yourselves, you can create a plan that works best for your child and your busy lives. If left up to the court, you will receive a much more generic schedule that you and the other parent will have to figure out how to work with.
Child Support Mediation
Indiana has a well-defined method of determining child support. However, if you, your child’s other parent, or both have significant incomes, then you may wish to negotiate for a child support amount higher than what Indiana’s process would result in. During mediation, you and the other parent can have honest discussions regarding your child’s necessary expenses and the lifestyle you wish your child to be accustomed to. To further discuss how you can negotiate or modify child support through mediation, contact a mediation lawyer from GDS Law Group, LLP today.
The Mediation Process
If you and the other party agree to mediation or are required to go, the next step is mediator selection. The mediator is the individual who will guide your conversations and help them remain productive. You county may provide mediation services. Another option is for you and the other party to agree on a mediator. If this does not go well, then Marion and Madison counties follow Indiana’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Rule 2.4. The court will give you and the other party a list of three possible mediators. You each get to veto one person on the list, and the remaining name is the mediator.
You and the other party will then schedule your first mediation session. Prior to this session, you and the other party may be required to or voluntarily provide a mediation statement. This includes the facts of the situation, where you are in negotiations, and the outcome you both want.
You and your mediation lawyer will also thoroughly prepare for the mediation session, including the topics you will discuss, your position, the important factors, the best possible resolution, and what you are willing to compromise on.
Mediation may last one session or it may take numerous meetings. During these conferences, you and the other party will negotiate all aspects of the family matter until you come to an agreement. The mediator will draft the final agreement that you and the other party can review before it is submitted to the court.
Most courts require that both of you make a good faith effort to resolve the issues within a specific period of time. In Marion County, you should try and have the issues resolved in 60 days. If you are not finished within the time frame, the mediator will file a status report with the court and provide an estimated date for when you will be finished. In Madison County, the mediation process should be completed within 90 days of selecting the mediator. If it is not, then you return to court with where you are in the negotiations and move forward from there.
If mediation is not successful, you should speak with your lawyer about next steps. You and the other party may need to have a judge intervene and resolve the issue. This means you and your attorney must prepare your arguments for court.
Let a Mediation Attorney Guide You
Divorce, child custody, and child support are all very serious issues. You need to be fully aware of your rights before you head into negotiations – and that is what mediation is: Negotiations. If you are unaware of your rights and options, yet the other party has legal counsel, you will be at a disadvantage. Having an attorney by your side means you are prepared to defend your rights. You will have help preparing for the mediation conference, including discussing how to remain calm, how to express your needs and desires, and when to fight for more or compromise.
At GDS Law Group, LLP, our goal as your mediation lawyers will be to ensure you leave mediation with a fair and appropriate settlement and are not taken advantage of. We want you to get through this process smoothly and without a significant final bill.