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“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears – by listening to them.” – Dean Rusk

As a North Carolina certified family financial mediator, Joseph Schmitz regularly serves to mediate disputes involving one or more of the following issues:

  1. Equitable Distribution (marital property distribution)
  2. Spousal support (post separation support and alimony)
  3. Child Custody
  4. Child Support
  5. Marital Separation

With his trial background, Joe knows the pitfalls of litigation and the stress, inconvenience, frustration and financial burdens it generates. Frankly, litigation should often be a means of last resort.

What is “Mediation?”

Mediation is simply the process where an impartial third person assists two people in conflict discuss their dispute in an effort to reach a settlement. It does not require the parties be represented by attorneys, and thus it can save both parties from having to pay for attorneys while still being able to settle their differences. Often times, both parties are represented by the attorneys, which can often be beneficial to the parties, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Bottom line – mediation is a time-tested and proven process that has helped thousands of people amicably resolve their differences without facing the uncertainty of the courtroom.

The Process

The parties are generally never in the same room together, helping to ensure a safe environment, particularly when there has been a history of an abusive relationship or acts of domestic violence.

The mediator will meet with both parties and briefly introduce himself and establish the ground-rules for the mediation process. From there, the mediator begins to collect information from each party and to outline the issues that need to be resolved. From there, the mediator will begin to assist the parties in identifying common goals and outlining potential areas of compromise.

Depending on the number of issues that need to be resolved, whether the parties are represented, and the starting positions of the parties, mediation can take as little time as a couple of hours to a full day or two to reach a full and final resolution. If the parties to take a break to obtain additional information that will be useful to resolving their issues, then a recess can be taken, and the mediation will be rescheduled for the earliest date possible. As a mediator, Joe works diligently to cut quickly through the tangential issues and getting to the root of the problem.

By settling their dispute in mediation, the parties maintain control over the results and have the invaluable opportunity to customize a creative solution to the problem – judges do not have the same abilities. Conversely, when attempting to “resolve” the problem in court, the parties face long, enduring days in the courtroom, unavoidable delays (sometimes many months), thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees, and a stranger in a black robe will render an uncertain result.

Furthermore, mediation is a confidential process, whereby the parties’ private matters are kept out of the public record, which is quite often of high value to both parties. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, their settlement offers cannot be presented to a judge, which encourages the parties to make offers without any threat that an offer will be used against him or her at trial.


Unless the parties agree otherwise, they are each responsible for paying one-half of the fees charged by the mediator. At Schmitz Law, PC, in an attempt to be as budget friendly as possible, we charge an administrative fee of $150 and $250 per hour, and the parties each pay half of the total. If you have already received an estimate of what an attorney will charge you to represent you, then you can recognize even just the financial benefits of mediation.

Contact Us

Let us help you resolve your family law dispute. To discuss your mediation, call us at 336-714-2380. Joe will travel to Guilford, Stokes, Surry, Davidson, Davie, and Yadkin counties to mediate your dispute, or Schmitz Law can host the mediation in our comfortable Winston-Salem office. Contact us for more information.

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