x N. Lawrence Hudspeth III

Civil Mediation

Civil Mediation

Civil Mediation, How Does Civil Mediation Work in North Carolina?

Civil mediation involves amicably resolving disputes with the help of a neutral go-between to reach a legally binding agreement. This alternative dispute resolution method is effective, flexible, faster, and less expensive than the court system. Call NC civil mediator and family lawyer Larry Hudspeth at (910) 455-9921.

What is Civil Mediation?

When it comes to child custody or asset division, divorces rapidly become contentious and costly. Many people prefer mediation over going to court. Civil mediation helps parties work out their differences confidentially and collaboratively with the help of a neutral third party, typically an experienced lawyer.

Mediation has many advantages over the court system. This includes cost reduction, fast resolution, and confidentiality. By meditating on a dispute, parties get to protect relationships and find harmonious solutions that can benefit all.

Civil mediation can be used for disputes touching on:

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Partnerships
  • The division of assets
  • Contracts
  • Contractors
  • Real estate
  • Parenting
  • Allocation of debts
  • Post-decree
  • Grandparent visitation
  • custody questions

The chances of resolving disputes through mediation are much higher than those through litigation, which can be pretty expensive.

How does civil mediation work in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, mediation is governed by the General Statute 7A-38.1 and the rules applied by various courts. The statute specifies the number of issues, including the selection of the mediator, the timing and location of mediation, the fees involved, and mediator duties.

Lawyers who specialize in alternative dispute resolution usually act as mediators. The court may appoint them, or the parties may agree on one choice of a lawyer. In some cases, the court may order mediation, but the parties decide to use it themselves in most cases.

Instead of deciding the outcome of the case, a mediator helps the parties work through various legal and factual issues.

North Carolina’s mediation process

Choosing a mediator: These are trial lawyers who have no personal interest in the case. The Superior Court may appoint a mediator if the parties cannot agree on one choice.

Scheduling: The parties set a neutral location and time for mediation that works for both parties and the mediator.

Introductory statements: The mediator will clear up the rules and expectations of the mediation. The process is much like a boardroom meeting-not an adversarial court proceeding.

Statement of Issues: There will be a presentation by each party. Your attorney will likely represent and speak on your behalf so that you do not unintentionally admit wrongdoing.

Breakout Sessions: The mediator will alternately speak to each party, offering unbiased, neutral opinions. This process will take place in separate, private rooms.

Identifying middle ground: Upon meeting with both parties, the mediator will try to establish common ground so that the dispute can be resolved, if at all. Resolution options are discussed alternately with each party as necessary.

Reaching a consensus: The goal is to reach an agreement everyone can agree on, even if it falls short of their ideal resolution. The agreement reached holds both parties to their commitments.

A growing number of civil cases in North Carolina are settled through mediation. Therefore, plaintiffs should take the mediation process seriously in all cases.

It is essential to properly prepare and consult an attorney to understand the issues and get a fair resolution. Please contact mediation coordinator Larry Hudspeth at (910) 455-9921.