Mediation is a process whereby a third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and non- adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. The decision making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes but is not limited to assisting the parties in identifying the issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring alternatives.

Family mediation is mediation of family matters, including married and unmarried persons before and after judgements involving dissolution of marriage, property division, shared or sole parental responsibility, child support, custody, and visitation involving emotional or financial considerations not usually present in other circuit civil cases. Negotiations in family mediation are primarily conducted by the parties’ counsel. Counsel for each party may attend the meeting or conference and privately communicate with their clients. However, presence of counsel is not required and in the discretion of the mediator and with the agreement of the parties’ mediation may proceed in the absence of counsel unless otherwise ordered.