Family Law

Family Law

Collaborative Law and Mediation

In Mecklenburg and Iredell Counties, committees are forming a post of Lawyers whose approach to family law is that of problem solving.  The idea of collaborative law originated in the Southwest and has been recently imported to our area.  Collaborative Law involves the concept that the Lawyers and the clients have a series of meetings and work through a couple's family law issues.  In Collaborative Law the parties sign a contract that they will not hide assets and that they will cooperate in exchanging documents.  In Collaborative Law there is a great deal less hostility between the parties in that they are part of the problem solving process.  Also involved in the Collaborative Law are provisions regarding what happens if certain issues cannot be resolved.  In Collaborative Law the parties can go to Mediation or Arbitration.  Mediation involves a Mediator who is a neutral who helps negotiate a settlement.  The Mediator does not make decisions.  If the parties fail at Mediation, they next move to Arbitration.  Arbitration is a process whereby a third party is actually is appointed to act as a Judge.  The beauty of Arbitration is that the parties actually get to pick their Judge based on experience.  

If the parties refuse to cooperate in Collaborative Law, both attorneys are forced to withdraw and the clients are required to retain new counsel.  This puts a financial incentive on the parties to resolve their difficulties without court because they do not want to loose the investment in their lawyers.  Collaborative Law is proving to be a very effective problem solving method in financial terms and most importantly emotional terms.  Families who participate in Collaborative Law have a much better working relationship as co-parents where children are involved.  Collaborative Law often gives closure to difficult issues leading to the marital breakup.  

 Mediation in North Carolina started with a pilot project in Mecklenburg County.  Iredell County adopted its own model for Mediation that involves both lawyers both clients and the parties all sit down together with a Mediator to resolve the various marital issues.  If a party is un-represented, Mediation can still take place.  Mediators in Iredell County are usually lawyers who are trained as negotiators.  A Mediator is a neutral person who cannot make a decision for the parties.  The Mediator merely facilitates communication and aids in negotiation of the difficult issues surrounding a divorce or separation. In Iredell County all issues regarding families include child custody, child support, division of property, alimony and post separation support, and also later changes in custody, child support, and alimony and post separation support, subject to the mandatory Mediation Rules.

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Mediation has been enormously successful in resolving cases outside of court.  Attorneys in the Iredell County area have seen their court caseload drop dramatically.  In the case of T. Michael Godly, 85% of his cases now resolve through Mediation or Collaborative Law.  Mediation like Collaborative Law entails the parties being involved in the settlement process and making their own decisions.  This usually turns out in a much better relationship between the parties in the years to follow.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.


You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.


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