Family mediation is a way for families to resolve disputes without having to go to court. It is a confidential process where people meet with a trained mediator, who helps them understand each other’s perspectives and reach a solution that works for everyone. It is a cost-effective and less stressful alternative to litigation.

Family disputes can be about parenting schedules, custody arrangements, child support, alimony, property division, elder care, the family’s budget, distribution of inherited property and more. While some families need to be court-ordered to attend mediation, others choose to mediate because they prefer it over the stress of a litigated divorce.

A good family mediator will help parents find unique solutions that work for their situation. This can lead to a more interactive co-parenting relationship, which can be healthy for the children involved. The mediation process may also address how parents will handle disagreements in the future.

When choosing a mediator, look for an accredited family mediation Council (FMCA) mediator who has experience with resolving a variety of family issues. Also, make sure to discuss your expectations with the mediator before meeting for the first time. It is important to enter the mediation with an open mind and a willingness to listen and show empathy for one another. If you have concerns or are unsure whether mediation is right for your family, talk to your lawyer before you start mediating. Many courts offer orientation sessions before your mediation session or you can view an online video of an orientation.