Mediation is a dispute resolution method that helps divorcing spouses to come to mutual agreements about some or all divorce issues without a lengthy and expensive court battle. In mediation, a neutral mediator helps facilitate discussion to ensure that both spouses feel that they are heard and to keep both sides focused on coming to a mutually beneficial agreement. While the process is designed to be non-adversarial, an attorney can help a spouse remember important rights, ensure all necessary issues are discussed, and review the final agreement to make sure it has the intended effects.
How does mediation work?
In a mediation session, the two spouses meet with a neutral mediator who can either be appointed by the court or chosen by the spouses. Each spouse will be given a chance to make an opening statement outlining their interests and concerns before back and forth discussion begins. At times, the mediator may talk to the spouses privately to help them better understand how to facilitate further discussion. If the spouses are able to reach an agreement, a written stipulation will be drafted, and if requested, an uncontested divorce packet will be prepared and filed with the Court. Both spouses are advised to seek independent legal advice both prior to meeting with the mediator, to understand their rights, and prior to executing any settlement agreement or legal document.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- Avoid lengthy and expensive litigation
- Reduce the bad feelings often created during a contested divorce
- Maintain an amicable relationship that helps both spouses keep strong relationships with their children and mutual friends
- Better satisfaction with an outcome driven by mutual gain, not beating the other side