Posts Tagged ‘Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution’

May approves reformation of a court-approved equitable distribution agreement based upon an alleged mutual mistake

The July 24, 2019 Court of Appeals opinion in May v. May, upheld the family court’s reformation of a court-approved separation agreement based upon the mediator’s scrivener’s error and an alleged mutual mistake. In May, the parties entered a separation agreement drafted by the mediator. In a provision dealing with the marital home, the parties’ […]

How pro se litigants can best prepare for family law mediations

Most pro se family court litigants are pro se either because they cannot afford attorneys or do not want the contentious litigation that they assume is the natural result of retaining separate attorneys. Often these litigants will use a mediator to help them resolve their disputes. The following suggestions can help such litigants make the […]

Mediator or messenger

During the past few weeks two attorneys I greatly respect have conducted mediations for my clients. One mediator settled every single case, often in circumstances in which I thought reaching settlement would be difficult. The other attorney failed to obtain a settlement in a case that frankly should have settled without much difficulty. This had […]

Not all cases need to settle

A few weeks ago one of my cases was mediated by a retired family court judge. It began with the her talking privately to me and the other attorney. In the previous months opposing counsel and I had tried two cases to verdict. I mentioned that to our mediator, who replied that she thought, “more […]

An aggressive mediator is a hammer but not every case is a nail

The model of mediation we were all taught in the family court mediation training has the parties sitting together with the mediator in one room, while the mediator, tapping into the parties’ latent empathy skills and powers of rationality, kindly guides the participants into a mutually satisfying agreement. At the end everyone sings Kumbaya (just […]

South Carolina Supreme Court promulgates new rule for appointing mediators in family court

An August 27, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court order requires dismissal of family court actions if they are not resolved or set for trial within 365 days of filing. A March 14, 2013 Supreme Court order made most local counties subject to mandatory mediation before family court cases will be set for a contested trial. Together, […]

The drawback of preventing non-parties from attending mediations

ADR Rule 5(d) states that “ADR [Alternative Dispute Resolution] conferences are private. Other persons may attend only with the permission of the parties, their attorneys and the mediator.” In family court mediations, parties will often want their non-party family members to attend the mediation. Typically, this will be step-parents [for custody mediations] or parents [for […]

Should one execute a formal agreement at the conclusion of mediation?

A frequent debate among my family law colleagues is whether one should have one’s client execute a formal agreement before concluding mediation if one has reached an agreement-in-principal during mediation. There’s no right answer to this issue–just pros and cons with each position. The benefit of having a formal executed agreement is that it mitigates […]

 

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