Divorce Mediation

The Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Ending a marriage can be a complex, emotionally-charged experience. It can drain your energy, your time, your spirit, and your finances. In an effort to minimize the sometimes debilitating stress associated with the divorce process, divorcing couples are increasingly choosing mediation as a way to resolve the financial and family issues associated with the dissolution of a marriage.

Divorce mediation offers:

  • the option of keeping your divorce as amicable as possible
  • more power to create your own solutions to financial and family issues
  • more power over decisions about your lives and the lives of your children
  • more power over the outcome of your divorce
  • more control over the timing and scheduling of your case
  • less financial costs
  • less emotional stress
  • less time spent on the divorce process
  • the privacy and confidentiality of mediation vs. the public nature of litigation
  • the opportunity to express yourself in a safe environmentresolutions that are mutually-agreeable to both parties

The Spirit of Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation strives to be an amicable process where both parties have their say about their situation and play an active role in creating solutions that, ideally, meet the needs of both parties. It is a process of give-and-take, where the goal is to create a win-win resolution as opposed to a litigious, win-lose scenario that creates on-going bitterness and resentment.

The opportunity to use an amicable approach to divorce as opposed to the adversarial approach associated with litigation is of significant importance when children are part of a divorce. This is especially true if there are minor children involved, but also true with adult children as well.

Child support may end when a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school, but family interactions continue throughout adulthood: college graduations, weddings, holidays, and grandchildren provide opportunities for low-stress family interaction or for ongoing distress and negative emotions that are unhealthy for all parties. The way you handle your divorce now sets the tone for the future well-being of all concerned.

When Does Divorce Mediation Take Place?

Private mediation is a mediation that is initiated by the parties and it can take place at any point during the separation and divorce process: before filing or at any point during the litigation process. Court-ordered mediation takes place after a divorce has been filed with the court and the timing of the mediation is determined by the court.

The Role of the Divorce Mediator

A divorce mediator is a neutral, third-party who facilitates the communication between the two disputing parties. A divorce mediator does not make decisions for the parties but, instead, guides them through the mediation process as they identify, discuss, and resolve the issues pertinent to their divorce. While divorce mediators offer the benefits of their expertise and experience regarding the divorce process, they do not provide legal or financial advice. Your mediator is there to guide you and your spouse toward a mutually-agreeable settlement that addresses the needs of both parties.

The Role of the Parties

As parties to divorce mediation, it is in your best interest to arrive at your mediation session informed about the issues pertinent to your divorce and prepared to discuss those issues openly and honestly. Before your mediation, we will inform you about what paperwork and information you should bring to your mediation session; having updated and organized paperwork will help make your mediation session productive and efficient. Divorce mediation is an opportunity for you and your spouse to reach agreement on all the issues relevant to your divorce; being prepared is a key element to realizing that potential.

Do I Have to Attend Mediation with an Attorney?

Many disputing parties opt to attend mediation “pro se,” meaning they are participating in mediation without a lawyer present. Many disputing parties also attend mediation with legal counsel present at the session. We are happy to conduct mediation sessions either with or without counsel present at the session.

What Should I Expect During a Mediation Session?

A divorce mediation, held in a private, comfortable setting, typically begins in a joint session with the mediator making an opening statement explaining the fundamentals of the mediation process. After the mediator’s opening statement, each party is typically invited to give their perspective on the issues at hand. Some joint discussion may follow at this point.

During the session, the mediator will meet in private with each party in what is called a “caucus” to further explore the needs and interests of each party as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the case. As the process of joint sessions and caucuses continues, ideas for resolution are being identified and evaluated by both sides. The mediator guides this process of give-and-take toward the goal of a mutually-agreed upon settlement.

Settlement

If a mutually-agreed upon resolution between the parties is reached, the divorce mediator prepares a document called a Memorandum of Understanding, which memorializes the terms of the agreement. You can have this document reviewed by an attorney before signing. Once signed, these terms become part of your formal divorce documents.

More Information about Mediation

The three cornerstones of mediation are neutrality, confidentiality, and self-determination. It is a process grounded in flexibility, cooperation, and compromise where the disputing parties have the power to resolve the issues at hand themselves without having solutions imposed upon them by a third party. To learn more about the mediation process, please visit the mediation page or the FAQs page on this website.