Family Mediation Program
Find an eligible
Family Mediator in Alabama
The Goal of Family Mediation:
Placing Children First
Office of Courts.
Free Divorce & Family Mediation Program - Parenting & Divorce
The Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution Inc., offers a FREE family mediation program to help families with children fashion a parenting plan for the judge. The Center will pay the cost of specially trained mediators to support the process.
Find an eligible
Family Mediator in Alabama
About the program: The Parents are Forever Family Mediation Program is a collaborative effort of the Supreme Court of Alabama and the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution, the administrator.
This program makes it possible for parents with minor children who are divorcing or separating and have a family income of less than $60,000 to work with a mediator at no cost during the initial court filing. The Center pays the mediators. Funding is limited.
Mediators will help parents toward the goal of a parenting plan and a financial plan to take care of the children. Parents will always remain parents to their children and focusing on future provision and reduced conflict is so important. Forty three Alabama counties now participate. Judges order parties into the program.
Thanks to the support of the Alabama Supreme Court, mediators have been able to assist over 846 families who have entered the Parents are Forever Family Mediation program since 2013. These include parents and children who benefit from the parenting plans developed during the course of mediation. This program provides help to families during initial divorce whose income does not exceed $60,000. . Family mediators agree to take on these cases at a contract rate. The 2019 statistics follow:
2013 through December 31, 2019
Total Cases since 2013: 846
Alabama Counties participating since 2013: 46
CY 2019 Statistics
Family Mediations: 105
Average Family Income $38,439
Children Benefited: 161
Agreements: 69 -- Settlement Rate: 65.7%
Partial Agreements: 8
No Agreement: 28
Pro Bono Mediator hours: 92.15 hours
Thank you Alabama mediators for all your work to help Alabama families!
What is Family Mediation?
Family mediation is a process where an impartial third person, the mediator, helps people negotiate with one another to resolve issues relating to parenting, divorce, or issues that arise after a divorce.
The mediator can:
- Help parties discuss parenting time and responsibilities.
- Facilitate discussion of assets and liabilities, including property and businesses, and spousal support, if any.
- Allow each party the opportunity to communicate his or her concerns to the other party.
- Encourage the parties to explore alternative ways to resolve problems.
- Help parties negotiate an agreement satisfying to both.
- Encourage parents to use problem-solving skills in the future to address issues and deal with conflict.
The Goal of Family Mediation: Placing Children First - view this video from the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts.
What is a Mediator's Role?
Why use Mediation for Parenting, Divorce, and Post Divorce Issues?
Mediation has many advantages that
litigation does not have.
• In mediation, parties keep control over the outcome and solutions. They are familiar with issues unique to their family. Parents are able to focus on the needs of their children.
• Mediation is confidential and private.
• Disputes can be settled promptly. Mediation can be scheduled as soon as both parties agree to use mediation, even before legal papers are filed.
• Parties are able to reduce the emotional trauma for the family that divorce litigation can produce.
• Settlement in mediation is entirely voluntary.
While the courts may order you to try mediation,
either party or the mediator may end mediation at
• Mediation costs are usually significantly less than trial costs.
• Parties are more likely to comply with voluntary agreements that meet their needs.
The mediator is not a judge and does not render a decision or impose a solution on any party. Rather, the mediator helps those involved to talk to each other, thereby allowing them to resolve the dispute themselves in a way that meets the needs of both parties.
How does Mediation Work?
The mediator meets with the parties/parents in a room that allows for privacy and safety. Parties/parents may elect to bring their attorneys with them, and this is often advisable. After a brief description of the process, ground rules are set, confidentiality is explained, and parties are asked to sign a paper saying they agree to mediate. Parents may work toward creating a plan for parenting, and the parties may discuss assets, debts and spousal support.
Through mediation, parties have an opportunity to tailor a plan specifically suited to their needs and the needs of their children. The mediator will usually meet privately with each party to explore more fully the facts and needs of the parties. This gives the participants the opportunity to communicate to the mediator their real interests as well as to vent anger or frustration outside the presence of the opposing party.
When authorized by a party, the mediator will communicate ideas and proposals to the other party so that agreement can be reached. The agreement is then written down and signed by the parties.
Guide - The American Bar Association offers a guide, Preparing for Family
Mediation, on their website, to assist parties in preparing for mediation to help ensure a successful experience. Download a copy at americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/
uptoparents.org - A free, confidential, and interactive website for divorcing and divorced parents.
alabamamarriage.org - The Alabama Healthy Marriage & Relationship Education Initiative, or "AHMREI", (former name, Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative, or "ACHMI") is a partnership between Auburn University, Family Resource Centers, Mental Health Centers, and many other agencies and individuals at the State and Local levels who have joined together to build and sustain healthy relationships and stable marriages throughout Alabama.
bonusfamilies.com - Bonus Families® is the only international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting peaceful coexistence between divorced or separated parents and their combined families. Our goal? We’re here to support YOU.
Find a Family Mediator
Our state court roster contains the names of Family Mediators who have met the Mediation Registration Standards and Procedures adopted September 18,1998 and who have registered with the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc.
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