The last 25 years have brought about a culture of change in family law, and mediation has played an integral part of that change. Mediation has garnered a well-deserved reputation as a viable means of resolving family related legal disputes outside of court, and in a more economical and less adversarial manner. The growing acceptance and use of mediation has resulted in a significant decline in the number of family law cases that are litigated. With mediation’s proven success record, and the emergence of other ADR processes, the number of litigated family law cases is expected to continue to diminish.
In North Carolina, mediation is mandatory in cases involving child custody disputes and equitable distribution. However, family law practitioners routinely rely on mediation to resolve other family law matters, including child support, postseparation support, alimony, modification issues, and marital related contract disputes.
If you are a family law practitioner, then you are likely aware of the many ways that mediation can benefit families. Mediation can be used to settle small disputes within the context of the case, as well as the broader legal issues. For example, a mediator can help the parties reach an agreement on selecting an appraiser or business valuator to allow the parties time to conduct discovery and investigate the merits of the parties’ claims to the business.
Another benefit of mediation is that it can be used in combination with other ADR processes. Med-Arb (mediation and arbitration) is one of the many examples and is a process that is gaining traction in other geographical areas. In Med/Arb, the parties can agree that if they are unsuccessful in reaching a mutual agreement at mediation, the mediator will arbitrate the matter.
The success of your mediation can largely depend on the mediator you choose (or who is appointed by the court). The knowledge, experience, skill, personality, and style of the mediator can make an extraordinary difference in the outcome of the mediation as well as the overall experience with the mediation process.
A talented family financial mediator who has extensive experience in divorce and family laws can help to ensure that your matter is fairly resolved. Howard is available to serve as a mediator in family related legal disputes including the following:
- post marital agreement;
- separation agreements;
- child support;
- postseparation support and alimony; and
- equitable distribution.
Howard’s years of experience, both as a family law practitioner and as a mediator, have given him valuable insight into potential solutions to problems that arise within the context of a divorce. His strengths as a mediator include the following:
- extensive knowledge of family law and the mediation process;
- ability to understand the complex legal and financial issues that are unique to family law matters;
- methodical approach to problem-solving; and
- ability to help parties find common ground on which to lay the foundation for a lasting settlement.
Howard is a Certified Specialist in Family Law by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization since 1989. Howard has focused his practice on family law for nearly 40 years. He enjoys fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and is an AAML certified arbitrator.
His service to the legal profession has been a source of inspiration to his peers and colleagues. He has presented as a speaker at many CLE’s and has been the honored recipient of many prestigious awards, including most recently the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award. Howard is an AV Preeminent Peer Reviewed Lawyer at Martindale Hubbell. He is listed in the Family Law Section of both Best Lawyers of America and North Carolina Super Lawyers.