Can Mediation Resolve My Family Law Case?

In most Idaho family law cases, mediation offers a cost-effective alternative to going to court. Parties who are divorcing or litigating another aspect of family law, such as custody, should be prepared for this process. Working with your Idaho family law attorney, you may be able to avoid the difficulties of going to trial.

With mediation, a non-partial individual known as a mediator helps the parties discuss their case in hopes of resolving it. A mediator is not a judge and cannot make decisions for the parties. Instead, the mediator’s objective is to focus attention on the parties’ goals and needs, not rehash arguments against each other. One advantage of mediation is avoiding the time, expense, and drama that comes with taking a case to trial. Mediation may also help the parties learn to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. Judges expect the plaintiff and defendant to get along for the benefit of their children or to obey court orders. Successful mediation makes it more likely that the parties will amicably exchange information and cooperate with each other.


Mediation is confidential, meaning that communications that take place are generally not admissible in court. This allows both sides to let their guard down and talk to each other in ways that court filings don’t. The mediator can then look for common ground that the parties were unwilling or unable to see before. Through this discussion, and relying on the experience of your Meridian, Idaho family law attorney, compromise becomes a real possibility.

Mediation typically starts with all parties in a room, usually in the more relaxed setting of a law firm’s office. The mediator will explain his or her approach and the mediator’s role in the process. The parties will usually be split into separate rooms after the introductory remarks. The mediator visits each one privately and asks about their concerns, goals, and relative positions in the case. If the parties are able to effectively communicate through the mediator, offers to settle may be exchanged.

The mediator will ask what are sometimes difficult questions when he or she meets privately with both parties. The intent is not to upset or side with either party. Rather, the point is to force both sides to consider the risks of going forward with litigation. Your Meridian, Idaho family law attorney can help answer these questions and provide information substantiating your position in the case.

The mediation process will continue with offers, counteroffers, and back and forth discussions. Some issues may be resolved, while others will need to go to court. Matters that are resolved can be reduced to a settlement agreement. Your Meridian, Idaho family law attorney will review the terms of this agreement with you. Once both sides understand and approve the agreement, it is signed and submitted to the judge for approval.

Although you are not required to have a lawyer for mediation, there are some advantages. A lawyer helps level the playing field between the two sides. It also offers assurance that you will receive serious offers with a likelihood of resolving the case in your favor. It’s also important to have legal representation to make sure you’re not taken advantage of. Finally, a lawyer can ensure that any settlement agreement is comprehensive and that all loose ends are tied.

It is important to note that some special rules apply with respect to custody mediation. Under Idaho law, attorneys cannot be present during custody mediation sessions unless the mediator requests that they be there. However, as noted above, your Meridian, Idaho family law attorney can review any agreement that you reach before you sign.


Difficult family law cases do not have to wind up in court. Mediation is an effective and reliable way for both sides to settle their differences on their terms. If mediation is in your future, trust the Meridian Family Law Attorney at the Idaho Divorce Center. Give us a call today to get started on your case.