Negotiating domestic issues including child custody and property division in mediation is often a beneficial option for many couples when going through a divorce. It allows them to have more control over their divorce as well as the agreements that will impact their family’s future.
Mediation is always an option for divorcing spouses, but there are some instances when North Carolina law requires families to attend mediation during the process of their divorce.
When is mediation mandatory?
North Carolina law only requires divorcing spouses and or parents who are no longer in a relationship to attend mediation in two situations:
- If parents wish to take their child custody dispute to family court; or
- If divorcing spouses want to take their property division case to court.
Why is mediation required in these situations?
Mediation is mandatory before a child custody case goes to court because family courts-and parents-want to protect children from the emotional stress of litigation.
Equitable distribution cases also must go through mediation before going to court. This is because these cases can significantly impact each spouse’s finances.
When these disputes are extremely complex, individuals can file a motion to waive the required mediation. However, it is up to the family court judge to approve the motion or not.
Mandatory mediation also allows families to negotiate their own terms
There is another significant reason that state law requires mediation in these cases.
As we have discussed in past blog posts, North Carolina family courts generally prefer families to determine the agreements regarding child custody or property division on their own. This allows families to:
- Settle the terms of their divorce in a way that best meets their family’s needs and best interests; and
- Get a chance to resolve conflicts and legal issues before pursuing an expensive lawsuit and litigation.
This gives divorcing spouses the opportunity to resolve their disputes more efficiently than they would in litigation.
A divorce is one of the most emotional legal processes. Requiring mediation in these situations allows families to maintain their privacy while also negotiating the resolutions they know are the best for their family.