What is Divorce Mediation?
There are several types of mediation that typically occur with the help of family law attorneys or the court itself: divorce mediation and custody mediation.
Both types of mediation work to help resolve disputes in a way that lets you control the outcome.
Unlike in litigation or arbitration, there is no single person who makes the final decision (e.g., judge or arbitrator). Rather, the only people making decisions are you and your soon-to-be former spouse.
A divorce mediation or custody mediation could take one session (lasting several hours) or several sessions to complete. In each meeting, both parties discuss the case and relevant issues in an effort to reach a rapid and favorable agreement.
Who is the Mediator?
To facilitate the discussion, a specially trained mediator will sit in the room to provide suggestions on how to resolve any differences between the parties. This same mediator will work with you and the other party to draft an agreement that benefits everyone involved. The mediator may be:
- An attorney
- A judge or retired judge
- In the case of mandatory court-ordered custody mediation, it may be a court-employed social worker or therapist who is provided by the court
Who Benefits From Mediation?
Most parents with custody conflicts and/or divorcing couples will benefit from child custody mediation, if both parties are willing to cooperate and are committed to the idea. If you decide at the onset to pursue mediation, you may even be better off, since litigation often produces conflict. For this reason, those with high-conflict divorces and custody cases should consider mediation right away.
The goal of mediation is to reduce the pain and minimize disruptive events for the individual and for the family during divorce. Through mediation you and your spouse can negotiate your settlement (with the help of your family law attorneys) and learn how to mediate future issues that may arise. In mediation, you have more control over the outcome that will impact your life and the lives of your children who may get caught in the middle of a messy, litigious divorce.
What is Involved in the Mediation Process?
The mediation process includes identifying the needs of each party and the children; collecting financial information to help divide assets and determine support issues; presenting alternative solutions to assist in settling custody issues, property division, and any other special issues; and helping you reach an agreement that both parties agree on.
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