The best family court mediators do not have 100% settlement rates

Posted Wednesday, July 19th, 2023 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution, Not South Carolina Specific, Of Interest to Family Court Litigants, Of Interest to Family Law Attorneys

The best family court mediators do not have 100% settlement rates. While I prefer a strong mediator—one who is willing to challenge the strengths and note the weaknesses of each party’s position—I also prefer a mediator who is willing to tell my client when he or she should reject the other party’s best offer and proceed to trial.

Even the best and most experienced attorneys can get tunnel vision about their own cases.  It is difficult—likely impossible—for an attorney to keep the advocate role and the counselor role completely distinct.  A great mediator can not only help the parties bridge previously irresolvable differences, he or she can provide a knowledgeable and fresh perspective on the case.  Often the perspective is that your client will be better off proceeding to trial.  A mediator who is solely focused on settling the case, and who treats every mediation that does not result in settlement as a failed mediation, will not provide that perspective.

For an attorney afraid to try cases a mediator who settles every case is ideal.  Yet not every case should settle.  Sometimes one or both parties are too stubborn to be realistic about settlement.  Sometimes, one party has a long shot position but the benefits of settlement do not outweigh the risks of trial.[i] 

A good mediator will help you settle your case.  A great mediator will let you know when you shouldn’t settle.

[i] How does one realistically convince a parent to relinquish parental rights?  For a parent trying to defend a likely relocation, any sweeteners the relocating parent could offer are typically insufficient to forgo consistent contact with one’s child.

2 thoughts on The best family court mediators do not have 100% settlement rates

  1. Thomas F. McDow says:

    I love trying cases, but when a case goes to trial one party, and frequently both parties, have made a huge mistake.

    1. As long as it’s not my client making the huge mistake, I’m okay with that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Put Mr. Forman’s experience, knowledge, and dedication to your service for any of your South Carolina family law needs.