Jay M. Patterson
Licking County Domestic Relations Court
For most people, the prospect of going to court is unpleasant, perhaps even frightening. Domestic Relations court hearings, with emotionally charged issues such as the determination of parental rights and responsibilities or the amount of child support to be paid, can be a difficult experience. Experts seeking ways to eliminate the adversarial "win/lose" atmosphere of traditional court proceedings have a long advocated the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation to help parties settle their differences in a way that meets the parties own needs. For many years the Licking County Domestic Relations Court has offered mediation as an alternative for families going through divorce and post-divorce parenting disputes.
If parties are dealing with contested issues during or after the divorce proceedings. a mediation assessment is scheduled with a court staff mediator. If, after the initial assessment appointment the Court mediator feels the parties are suitable candidates for mediation they are most often referred to a mediator from a court approved list. The mediator is a professional from the court who is trained in mediation. In an informal atmosphere, the mediator serves as a facilitator to help parties clarify the issues in dispute, identify possible options to resolve the dispute and develop a workable plan for the resolution of the dispute, if appropriate. The mediator will not make decisions for the parties, will not take the side of one party or the other and will not tell the parties what to do to resolve their dispute. If the parties, after meeting with a court approved mediator, are able to arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution to the contested issues, the agreement will be prepared by the mediator. The mediation agreement is not binding on the parties, however, until approved by the parties' attorneys (if any) and the judge or magistrate assigned to the case.
For additional information about the mediation services please call 740-670-5409.