There are generally two types of mediation associated with North Carolina family law cases – family court custody mediation and mediation for support and property issues.
Family Court Custody
Custody mediators are paid by the state to conduct custody mediation before going to trial. Attorneys are not allowed to participate in this mediation process. It is attended only by the parties and the mediator. If the parties reach a mediated agreement, the mediator must send the tentative agreement to the parties’ attorneys for their approval. If the agreement is approved by the attorneys, it is signed by a judge and becomes a court order having the same effect as if the parties had gone to court and had a trial.
Support and Property
This mediation is overseen by a certified family law mediator who is not provided by the state and the parties must split the cost of the mediator. Attorneys do participate in this mediation process. Generally, each party and their counsel are in separate rooms and the mediator ferries back and forth between them trying to resolve their issues. If a resolution is reached, it is forwarded to the judge assigned to the case. The judge signs the agreement and it becomes an order of the court.