Mediation is a frequently used method of negotiating and settling the terms of a divorce. A neutral third party is hired to act as a mediator between two spouses in an effort to resolve issues and come to an arrangement that is acceptable to both parties and that is best for any children involved. The only thing that is needed for a successful divorce mediation is for both parties to be willing to negotiate with each other in an open and honest way and be prepared to make some compromises. Even if there are major issues that seem impossible to resolve, mediation has proven to be a powerful process that can resolve seemingly insurmountable differences if both parties are willing to commit to the process.
Divorce mediation is about you and your spouse deciding the terms of your own divorce and what will be best for both, and most importantly, your children if there are any. Mediation is voluntary and continues only for as long as you want it to, and you and your spouse make all the decisions during the mediation process. During mediation, you are encouraged to work through issues in an amicable way so that the marriage can be ended in an acceptable and cost-effective way. Some topics covered during mediation may include:
– Property distribution (assets and liabilities)
– Child support and maintenance
– Custody and Parenting time
– Retirement plans
Divorce Mediation Benefits
Anyone involved in a divorce should consider mediation as it works for most couples and has several benefits.
– It saves thousands of dollars in court trials and hearings.
– It is confidential with no public record of mediation sessions.
– It allows you to resolve issues based on what each party considers to be fair, instead of having impersonal and rigid legal principles imposed as the court does not control the process.
– In many cases, the mediation process improves communication between couples which helps to alleviate future conflicts.
– You are entitled to have a lawyer to assist you with legal advice if you so wish.
– Most divorce mediations are successful at resolving all issues and coming to an amicable agreement.
The Mediation Process
Some mediators prefer to gather information regarding your marriage, your family circumstances, and any marital issues you would like to have resolved on the phone before meeting. Others prefer you to provide information at the first meeting in the presence of your spouse. During the first meeting, the mediator will explain what can be expected from the process such as meeting in the same room for the entire process, or having separate sessions in order to present your own views and position on matters concerning the divorce.
Certain documents will have to be signed such as an agreement of confidentiality and non-disclosure that precludes the mediator from disclosing any information in future court proceedings. A good mediator will endeavor to establish rapport with both parties and try to make you feel comfortable with the procedure. Sometimes agreements are reached easily but sometimes it can take a lot of time and work. When agreements are not easy to reach, the mediator will intervene, mainly to keep the lines of communication clear and open. The mediator assists in brainstorming sessions to help reach agreements, teach empathy for each other, and assist in the decision-making process. They help keep the focus when things go off track and away from the stated issues. Things like arguments, name calling and bad memories that do not serve the mediation process are avoided while the mediator remains impartial and neutral.
Divorce mediation is flexible and gives each spouse a means to settle conflicts and work together for the best result. This is extremely important if there are children involved as you will have to have contact with each other after the divorce. Lack of communication is the most common reason for divorce and mediation can help a couple learn to communicate better, if only for the sake of the children.
Please watch the video below to learn some steps to take when preparing for divorce mediation.