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Co-Parenting

Mediation

Kathleen McGraw, LCSW & Associates,  LLC
Kathleen McGraw is a qualified Family & Juvenile Mediator.  She is a referral member of the Family Mediation Council of Louisiana (FMCL) and the Juvenile Mediation Council of Louisiana (JMCL).  She is the President and on the Board of Trustees for JMCL.  Kathleen was a committee member who rewrote the Louisiana Revised Statute 9:334 and Children's Code 439,  which list the qualifications for family and juvenile mediators in Louisiana.  The revisions were accepted by the Louisiana Legislature and went into effect August 2006.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that can be used in any situation where the parties themselves cannot resolve a dispute.  In mediation,  a neutral third party (mediator) facilitates communication between the parties concerning the matter(s) in dispute and explores possible solutions to promote understanding and settlement. 

As self-determination is the fundamental principle of mediation,  it requires that the mediation process rely upon the ability of the parties to reach a voluntary agreement.  Unlike litigation,  mediation is non-adversarial.

Mediation Non-adversarial Mediation Lawsuit Litigation


What are the advantages of mediation?

  • Non-adversarial
  • Preserves the interest of all parties
  • Private and confidential
  • Avoids the expense of a lawsuit
  • Saves time
  • Improves communication and problem solving skills
  • Provides a context for practical decision-making
  • Parties retain a sense of ownership in
    the dispute / resolution
  • Compliance is more likely when parties create
    their own solutions
  • Easy to arrange

How is mediation used?

Mediation can be used in any situation where the parties themselves cannot resolve a dispute.  Mediation can either be ordered by the court or arranged voluntarily by the disputing parties.  In some cases,  mediation is the last option before going to court where a judge will make a decision for the parties based on limited information.   

Common cases for mediation include:  domestic matters (custody and visitation),  victim-offender,  family disagreements,  disputes within school settings or with school personnel,  problems in the workplace,  or on a larger scale such as between corporations.  

Following mediation,  the mediator prepares a document called the Memorandum of Understanding.  The Memorandum of Understanding contains the agreements made by the parties and is signed only by the mediator.  Each party receives a copy and is advised to provide it to their attorney for review.  In some cases,  parties who choose not to retain a lawyer make arrangements with the court to have their agreement read into the record as a consent judgment.

What is family mediation?

Family mediation is often pursued as a means of working out custody,  visitation,  and access problems between divorcing parents. 

Marital or relationship breakups are emotionally very hard and often provoke such intense emotions that parents have difficulty negotiating or planning appropriate approaches to co-parenting their children.  

 Children need both parents and most parents agree that they want their child to have a healthy relationship with the other parent. 

A mediator can be very helpful in assisting parents in keeping the focus of their discussions on the best interest of their children,  provide a physically and emotionally safe environment and structure to discuss highly emotionally charged issues with their former partner. 

Mediation DOES NOT take the place of legal advice and participants are encouraged to retain legal counsel to review decisions made in mediation.


What is juvenile mediation?

Juvenile mediation is a form of non – adversarial dispute resolution dedicated to working with juveniles and their families within schools,  the community,  and throughout the court system.

Partnered with services already available in the community,  juvenile mediation has the ability to profoundly impact education,  communication,  awareness,  team building,  and retention in schools.

It has been our experience that the positive energy developed through mediation modifies negative behaviors at school and within the community.  These initiatives decrease the number of youths who ultimately penetrate the juvenile justice system.

What types of situations benefit from juvenile mediation?

  • Victim Offender Cases
  • Child Abuse / Neglect Cases
  • Child in Need of Care Cases
  • Juvenile Justice Services
  • Families in Conflict
  • School Related Conflict
  • Community Related Conflict