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Rather than spending extensive time and money on court hearings, many of our clients select mediation as an alternate option. Mediation is a method of dispute resolution that encourages parties to resolve issues in a non-adversarial way with the help of a trained, neutral mediator.

Mediation is a tool that got its initial foothold in civil litigation matters involving huge financial settlements back in the early 90s. Quickly, lawyers and courts alike understood the value that creative agreements can have in resolving conflict. Now, mediation is a standard element of almost every civil lawsuit filed.  The process can have many different faces. The general concept is that parties air their needs and issues in a private forum to a professional neutral called a mediator. Mediators are specially trained listeners and evaluators that assist families in conflict to find common ground. During the mediation process, you and your lawyer have broad opportunity to ensure the elements most important to you are heard and the mediator helps parties find solutions that are fair and appropriate in light of the family’s unique circumstances and issues.

There are many types of mediation that can be used to resolve almost any sort of civil issue. Family Financial Settlement mediators are trained to work with all issues of family law to resolve issues of child and spousal support, custody, and equitable distribution. Other mediators work to resolve contract disputes, negotiate partition sales, and resolve all sorts of civil litigation matters.

Mediation is often a flexible, accommodating experience where needs and interests can be throughly discussed and explored which would not be possible in a court hearing. Then, an agreement reached during mediation can be made into a Court Order, enforceable like any other Court Order, or into a Separation Agreement or other contract. An Order reached through mediation is also subject to the same standards as a Court Order for any future modifications.

Mediation is a voluntary process. There is nothing about mediation that requires a definitive resolution. This can be beneficial in allowing parties to resolve only the issues that they want at a pace that is appropriate for their situation.  However, mediation is required by the NC statutes and family courts for child custody and equitable distribution cases. Additionally, it can be very helpful for resolving all other issues as well.

In both Durham and Wake Counties, residents are lucky to have a specialized Family Court system. Family Courts employ specially trained staff who work with the Judges to schedule matters in as efficient a manner as possible. Counties with Family Courts also have a detailed set of Rules which all attorneys and litigants must follow and which are designed to assist parties with receiving the information that they need to mediate their cases effectively and to provide the information the Courts need to ultimately decide the cases if mediation is not successful.

Barri Payne is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law. She has helped clients successfully negotiate lasting resolutions in their divorces through the use of mediation. Additionally, Barri is a certified family financial mediator herself, bringing extra skill to the process and to her ability to provide her clients with realistic expectations about what mediation might be able to achieve for their case.

Call Barri to find out more about amicably resolving your separation and divorce issues through mediation or other tools. She can provide you with a thorough explanation of mediation and other collaborative processes to negotiate your matter in a peaceful manner.

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Durham Family Law Specialist, Divorce & Family Law Attorney


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Whether you are starting or ending a marriage, enlarging or legitimizing your family, or appealing a family court ruling, you have found the assistance you need. Barri Payne can help you negotiate and commemorate your family law matters in a way that ensures the preservation of your relationships.  Connect with us today.


What Our Clients Say

Avvo Review

Barri, Thank you for helping me through a very trying and difficult period. Your prompt and professional assistance was so very refreshing and very much appreciated. Elizabeth was also very helpful whenever I called or had any questions. Sincerely, KG Posted by KG

Martindale Peer Review

Barri is a great attorney and super nice person, she is down to earth and reasonable which is incredibly important in handling Family Law matters.

Google Review

Handled my divorce a decade ago and I’ve been referring people ever since. Brilliant, kind, reliable, trustworthy.

Jeremy Powers

Avvo Review

“Barri was able to help me see the pros and cons of the situation and the possible paths to resolution.” … “She is the consummate professional, very knowledgeable, very responsive and communicative, and at the same time very compassionate and understanding. While my situation ended up in court, she is also very skilled at resolving things via mediation as well. If I could emphasize any further how grateful I am for Barri and how highly I would recommend her, I would rate 10 stars out of 5. Thank you.”


Avvo Review

Barri Payne was an excellent choice as my lawyer because she was most effective and thorough in getting the job done. Her confidence and knowledge was successful in helping me get through some formidable hurdles. I am very satisfied that Barri Payne was expedient, knowledgeable, compassionate and trustworthy while engaging in helping me solve my legal problem. I will be forever grateful!

August 10, 2017

Martindale Peer Review

Outstanding lawyer and expert in all areas of family law.

Avvo Review

Barri and Elizabeth went above and beyond to make me feel at ease and help me through some very tough family circumstances. In the end, all parties involved were happy with the results. They are amazing! I highly recommend them!!!!!


Martindale Peer Review

Barri has very good common sense and is pleasant to work with. She does a good job for her clients.

Avvo Review

Barri helped me with a very difficult and lengthy case. I appreciated her ethics when things got sticky. She is extremely knowledgeable and always kept on top of the many details of the case. I can’t speak highly enough of her!


Avvo Review

“I am an attorney practicing since 1999. I chose Mrs. Payne to handle my separation and divorce proceedings and couldn’t be happier.” … “She was compassionate, empathetic, competent, and dependable. That is what I needed and she was right there. I highly recommend Ms. Payne for divorce proceedings.”


Avvo Review

Barri and I entered into a situation that seemed pretty clear cut. Inevitably, challenges arose. But Barri had already prepared and expected all of them. She completely keeps her cool and defuses situations that are emotional and usually pretty charged. Barri is the consummate professional. I highly recommend Barri and I will definitely continue to go back to her for anything that comes up. She’s so well-respected and genuinely cares about her clients’ best interest.


Martindale Peer Review

Barri is an experienced attorney who takes great care with her clients and their cases. She is a thoughtful and zealous advocate.

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