Divorce mediation is a process in which divorcing spouses negotiate the terms of their settlement with the help of a neutral third party. Their understanding is then memorialized by the mediator into their final divorce agreement. As an Attorney/Mediator I help the couple communicate their respective needs and concerns and assist them in reaching an agreement, without making decisions or providing legal advice to either spouse.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process in which divorcing spouses negotiate the terms of their settlement with the help of a neutral third party, the divorce mediator.
Most divorce mediators are attorneys. The mediator prepares the paperwork and the legal documents including the parties’ final divorce agreement. Many individuals prepare their own paperwork which reduces the cost of the mediation process.
The mediator helps the couple communicate their respective needs and concerns and assists them in reaching an agreement, without making decisions or providing legal advice to either spouse.
The mediator guides the parties through the divorce process and helps develop a parenting plan, calculate spousal and child support, resolves issues regarding the division of assets, all without court intervention and the high cost of litigation.
Divorce mediation takes place in a safe, comfortable, non-adversarial setting based on cooperation, voluntary disclosure, and mutual decision making. Although Mediation is not therapy, it provides an arena better able to address the emotional side of divorce.
Mediation can turn a difficult, stressful and emotional situation into a more positive experience.
Is Divorce Mediation Right For Me?
During my initial consultation with a couple, they often ask - is Mediation right for us? Will we be successful? Is this a waste of time since we aren't always able to agree? Here are the answers to FAQs-
Mediation requires willingness and an ability to make concessions. No one ever gets everything they want.
Each spouse must be able to communicate and participate at some level recognizing that oftentimes one spouse has more knowledge of the finances than the other or greater access to information than the other.
Each party must be committed to working things out fairly for everyone concerned and to make certain that each spouse has equal access to information concerning the family finances and other matters.
Each party must be willing to listen to the other - even if they do not agree with what they hear.
The success of your Mediation will depend on YOU and whether each spouse cooperates and their level of commitment recognizing the alternative can be costly in every way.
What is The Role of The Attorney / Mediator?
The Attorney/Mediator can give general advice to the spouses when it comes to the law however they cannot provide individual advice to either spouse.
During the Mediation process each spouse is advised to consult an independent attorney to discuss their case, obtain legal advice that the mediator cannot provide due to their role as a neutral third party, and review and discuss their final agreement. These independent attorneys are called Review Counsel. Each party will decide the level of involvement they wish to have with their Review Counsel.
A skilled and experienced Attorney/Mediator can help each spouse share their feelings and concerns in a safe, respectful environment without letting emotion control any of the decision-making.
Why Choose Divorce Mediation?
Mediation emphasizes that divorce is not the end of the family but a reorganization of how the family operates.
Issues concerning divorce are emotional and personal rather than legal. Conflict is natural, but often destructive. As a neutral third party, I seek to reduce conflict and promote your common needs.
In mediation, unlike in court, there are no surprises. The discussion continues until each of you is convinced that the agreement will work for you.
Research indicates that the successful adjustment of children following separation and divorce is directly related to the level of cooperation between parents and their continued involvement in the lives of their children.
Mediation encourages participants to see themselves and each other as capable parents with a continuing responsibility to plan together for the future of their children.
If you have children, we will design a parenting plan that works for your family.
Mediation lessens the tension between the two of you and allows you to work together as parents.
Advantages of Divorce Mediation:
Mediation is more affordable because both spouses meet with one Mediator.
Because mediation is voluntary, participation is a choice, and couples can stop any time they wish.
Both parties must find the terms fair making it a winning approach to divorce that benefits the spouses and the children.
The stress and anxiety associated with divorce, particularly for children, can be reduced.
Self-determination and control over the outcome promotes positive, lasting results for everyone. Those who make a plan are more likely to follow it than those whose decision has been made for them by a Judge.
You create your own agreement rather than allowing others to make decisions for you. The agreement that you design in Mediation includes everything that is important to you.
You set the pace. You won't be frustrated by court delays or pressured to meet court-imposed deadlines. Your Mediation can proceed as slowly, or as rapidly, as you choose.
You and your spouse can work things out cooperatively, rather than engaging in a stressful, expensive and contentious divorce.