Shanise Greenfield, Esq. Greenfield Law Office

Mediation in South Carolina

Mediation is an informal form of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. It gives both parties an opportunity to sit down with a neutral person called a mediator to try and work out an agreement.  The idea behind mediation is that most people would be happier with agreements they made themselves rather than a solution imposed on them by the Court. It is believed that most litigants are more capable than a judge of making the best decisions for their family as it relates to custody and visitation of their children. Mediation gives the family an opportunity to take charge of their family’s future. 

Mediation is required in all Family Court cases if there are any issues in dispute. If there are any unresolved issues about child custody or visitation, then you are required to mediate these issues early on. The mediation process must be completed before a final hearing can be scheduled. If a party fails to attend a scheduled mediation conference without good cause, the Court can impose sanctions. 

The parties may select a mediator, or one will be appointed by the Family Court. The mediator is paid by the parties who usually split the cost. In some cases, mediation may be exempt by the Family Court for good cause (i.e., mental incapacity, incarceration, spousal abuse, child abuse, substance abuse, etc.). 

Is mediation required in South Carolina?

The mediator, the parties, and their attorneys are required to attend the mediation settlement conference. They must participate in at least three hours of mediation unless an agreement is reached sooner. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will draft a Memorandum of Agreement to be signed by the parties. –Marriage and Divorce Law in South Carolina