Divorces and child custody cases can be some of the most conflict-ridden and emotionally charged legal disputes that are addressed by Rhode Island courts. Many parties to these disputes are so overcome with emotion from the conflicts that led to the legal filings that compromise and agreement can seem out of the question. The fact is, that most Rhode Island divorce and custody cases are at least partially resolved through mediation, and the majority of litigants who resolve family law claims through mediation are pleased that they were able to reach an agreement.
Mediation is an officially sanctioned negotiation process where parties to a dispute can meet with a neutral third party to discuss the issues of their case and attempt to reach a resolution. Mediators may be attorneys, social workers, or even retired family court judges. The job of the mediator is to facilitate communication between the parties, while also offering advice as to how a court may rule on the contested issues. The goal of the mediation is to have the parties agree to an enforceable resolution of all or some of the issues in the case, to avoid a judge having to rule against one party or the other in an adversarial dispute.
Mediation has several benefits. Parties are more likely to accept and follow a family court order that is the result of mediation, because each party agreed to the order, and cannot claim that it was imposed upon them. Mediation is also generally more time efficient and less expensive than a resolution obtained through court proceedings and trial. Additionally, meditation can benefit families by facilitating face-to-face interaction between conflicted couples, which can lead to an improved co-parenting dynamic in the future.
Mediation in Rhode Island only includes the parties and the mediator, as attorneys are not allowed to be present. That said, it is helpful for mediating parties to have a competent Rhode Island family law attorney to advise them before and after the mediation. An attorney can help ensure that the agreement on paper reflects the understanding made in mediation. An order arising from a mediated agreement is not enforceable by the court until the court approves it. While most mediations resolve some of the outstanding issues in a divorce or custody case, the issues that are not resolved can be scheduled for trial. Even a partial mediation agreement can result in thousands of dollars in savings compared to pursuing all the issues through a trial.
Finding a Qualified Rhode Island Family Law Attorney
If you or a loved one is anticipating or going through a divorce or custody dispute in Rhode Island, deciding on an attorney can be an overwhelming task. The experienced Rhode Island family law attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo have helped resolve hundreds of custody and divorce cases, often helping our clients obtain favorable agreements through mediation. Whether your case is appropriate for mediation or not, we can help you decide how aggressively to pursue your case to get the desired results. Bilodeau Capalbo is a full-service Rhode Island family law firm, and we represent clients with family law issues statewide. Contact our offices today and schedule a free consultation by calling 401-300-4055.