Mediation is a process where parties to a legal proceeding, meet with a qualified neutral third party in an attempt to resolve pending matters. The Mediator has no legal authority to order the parties to do anything and cannot give legal advice. The Mediator can, however, give legal information to both parties as may be necessary for them to make informed decisions. It is the Mediator’s job to work with the parties to come to a resolution of their pending issues without the need for a court hearing. The Mediation process is confidential, informal and designed to save parties time and expense while making informed choices regarding their family.
Increasingly, couples who are facing family issues are choosing to enter early mediation in an attempt to resolve their problems prior to obtaining attorneys and going to court and in some cases, prior to even filing a single court document.
As with many counties in Indiana, Hamilton County, now requires Mediation in several family law matters prior to a final court hearing. Our offices provide a wide range of Family Law Mediation options including, Child Inclusive Mediation, Optional Early mediation, and Modest Means Mediation for Qualified individuals.
Domestic Relations Mediation
There are many excellent reasons to consider family law mediation, whether prior to filing or prior to a court hearing. Some of the key benefits are:
- Optional Early Mediation. Indiana allows for parties to come in and resolve their family law difficulties prior to filing for a court hearing. The parties are able to choose their own mediator and can participate with or without an attorney.
- Divorce litigation is almost always far more costly than what litigants are prepared for at times even swallowing up most if not all assets of the parties.
- Letting a Judge determine the outcome of your case can lead to outcomes that are damaging and difficult to sustain.
- Mediation allows both parties to present their positions and objectives openly, in their own words, in a much less restrictive environment than a courtroom. When you take your case to court, the rules of evidence and trial procedure limit the way you communicate and what information you are able to communicate.
- Family members maintain control of decisions with tremendous impact on the family, including child custody and parenting time, rather than putting these decisions in the hands of a judge.
- Ultimately, the flexibility of mediation to allow creative compromises and solutions can set the stage for better long-term communication and co-parenting, minimizing the likelihood that serious conflict will arise later on.
Modest Means Mediation
Hamilton County Courts have committed to make efforts to resolve family law issues outside of the courtroom and Trenna Parker has been providing these services to the Hamilton County Community since 2004. In many instances, the parties have been unrepresented litigants who feel that saving time, saving money, and making agreements themselves has been in the best interest of the family. However, there is a great need in the county to provide greater access to low-income mediation and to streamline the process. For participants who earn less than $575.00 per week, our offices provide family mediation services for $50.00 per hour. In order to request low-income mediation, the participants should contact our offices and an in-take sheet will be provided. Upon receipt of both parties’ intake sheets and verification of income, our offices will schedule a mediation session with one of our qualified domestic relations mediators.
It is our belief that “The only agreement that matters is the one signed by the parties.”
Child Inclusive Mediation
Child Inclusive Mediation is a process that adopts a co-mediation approach utilizing both a specially trained Mediator and a Child Consultant during a family’s separation.
Child Inclusive Mediation helps separating parents focus on the best interests of their children by giving their children the opportunity to have their views heard about the changes in their family in a safe and confidential environment without the fear of upsetting either parent.
The Child Consultant is trained to ensure children feel they are in a safe space while encouraging children to share their genuine feelings and experiences which are then conveyed to the parents and their Mediator in a supportive and non-judgmental way. The children’s messages help parents make informed, cooperative decisions that create better outcomes for the family.
Why use Child Inclusive Mediation?
- Children feel supported and heard during their family’s separation
- Lessens the damage to the child by decreasing conflict
- Provides each parent the opportunity to view the other parent through their child’s eyes
- Studies show CIM practices are liked and are perceived as helpful by parents and mediators.
- Child-informed mediations result in mediation agreements that are judged as being more likely than non-child informed mediation agreements to facilitate positive child adjustment to divorce.
Benefit of CIM
- Cost reducing
- Faster than litigation, GAL, Custody Evaluation
- Leaves power in the hands of the parents
- Maintains the child’s and parents’ dignity
- Research consistently demonstrates increased risk of negative outcomes for children who experience parental conflict. CIM motivates parents to reduce the risk of children experiencing negative side effects of parents’ divorce across emotional, behavioral, social, psychological, health, and academic domains
An Alternative to Court
In a litigation proceeding, usually the Judge makes a decision regarding the matters that affect you and your children the most. Research shows that parties that engage in litigation one time will continue to engage in litigation over and over. Generally, the reason is simple, they didn’t get the result they wanted the first time.
This cycle of litigation has given rise to Family Law Mediation as the preferred method of settling disputes. In Mediation, the parties are in charge of making their own decisions for their family to obtain the best possible resolution for themselves and their children. These resolutions are reduced to writing and submitted to the Court for approval.
Why Choose Us
Trenna S. Parker has been a Family Law Mediator since 2004 and Marsha Hackenburg completed her Family Law Mediation training in 2019. Since that time, both have successfully completed a number of Mediations at a cost that parties can afford. Affordable Mediation services are the keystone of Trenna S. Parker Law Office. In Family Law, emotions can run very high and good people find themselves at the worst possible times of their lives. Efficient, affordable and effective agreements can help them move forward from this dark time in a manner that maintains dignity and hope for the future.