Mediation is one of the more commonly used methods of negotiating divorce settlements. Through divorce mediation, both of you—or, in some cases, you and your respective attorneys—hire an unbiased 3rd party, known as a mediator, to meet with you to address and settle the matters in your divorce. The mediator will not make decisions for you but serves to facilitate in order to help you and your spouse come to an agreement.
People undergoing a divorce should think about mediation, which may work for just about all couples and has a long list of advantages.
- Mediation is a lot less costly than a court trial or a series of litigation.
- A lot of mediations conclude in a settlement of all of the matters concerning your divorce.
- Mediation is in private, with no public record of what happens in your sessions.
- Mediation permits you to come to a settlement on the basis of your own opinions of what is just in your circumstances, instead of having a resolution imposed on you on the basis of strict and impartial legal principles.
- You can still have an attorney give you legal advice if you so desire.
- Both of you — not the court — can manage the process.
- The mediation process can improve communications between the both of you, helping you avoid conflicts down the road.
Whereas mediation is positively worth trying for a lot of couples, not every one of them belongs in mediation. For instance, when there is domestic abuse in your marriage, you should think carefully before you agree to get involved—but don’t let it get out of control. many people who have gone through abuse in their marriages have found it empowering to meet on a level playing field of mediation sessions; others find there’s too great of a possibility of duplicating the subtleties of the marriage and decide to have an attorney do their negotiating on behalf of them. Additionally, since the mediator can’t command either of you to do anything, an individual that wants to postpone the proceedings or avoid paying support could misuse the process by consenting to mediation and then inhibiting the process. When you require decisions about support or other matters made early in your divorce, you might have to go to court. This doesn’t mean you will not be able to utilize mediation down the road to resolve the rest of the matters in your divorce, though.
All that is needed to make a divorce mediation effective is for both spouses to show up agreeing to negotiate and are open for compromising. Don’t disregard mediation just because you and your spouse see specific matters very differently—that is to say, don’t quit before you start. Mediation is an effective process and many cases that appear impossible to come to a resolution initially culminate in a settlement if everyone is devoted to the process.
The Mediation Process
Even though each mediator has their own way of doing things, a lot of mediations tend to move along the same direction. You’ll usually begin with a phone call which you’ll talk with the mediator or an aide and give background details about your marriage, your family, and what the matters are. A lot of mediators want a considerable amount of basic information prior to mediation beginning, whereas others prefer to collect all the details in the initial meeting when everyone is in attendance.
You’ll then go to the first meeting—typically held in a conference room or relaxed office—where the mediator is going to explain what you can expect from the process. For instance, they may let you know that everyone is going to be in the same room for the entire mediation or that you’ll meet in individual sessions allowing the mediator to get your views or positions privately. The mediator might also take care of some maintenance business—for instance, ask you to sign an agreement saying that you are going to keep what’s said in the mediation to yourself and that you realize that the mediator can’t impart any of what goes on there when there’s a court proceeding in the future. However, the mediator is going to try to make you feel comfortable by determining a rapport with each of you.
Attorney in Divorce Mediation
When you’re represented by an attorney, the question is going to come up if your attorney should go to the divorce mediation with you. This is one thing you’ll work through with the mediator, your attorney’s, and your spouse, respectfully. Oftentimes, family law mediation sittings involve only the divorcees and the mediator. This keeps expenses down and guarantees that both of you do the talking and make the determinations (attorneys have an inclination to take over when they are present).
Unless they think it’s vital that you be represented, go to the first session without your attorney present. (When your soon to be ex is insistent on having an attorney with them, you’ll want to do likewise.) When you’re not represented, but you’ve requested that an attorney be your consultant for mediation purposes, then you’ll probably go to the first mediation session by yourself. Nevertheless, if you go by yourself and then you discover that you can’t voice your position clearly or stand up for yourself by yourself, then think about bringing your attorney to later sessions.
Finding a Mediator
Your attorney is going to have recommendations to local mediators. When you’re representing yourself, you’ll have to find a divorce mediator by yourself. If possible, try to find referrals from an individual whose judgment you trust. You can request lawyers, CPA’s, counselors, or spiritual leaders for recommendations, in addition to friends that have gone through a divorce.
When you can’t locate direct, personal recommendations, the following are some other ideas:
- Find online sources: www.mediate.com and www.divorcenet.com have links to mediator recommendations, as do a lot of other divorce websites and attorney directories, including Nolo’s at www.nolo.com.
- Get a hold of national mediation or family law associations, comprising of www.acrnet.org, www.afccnet.org, in addition to www.adr.org.
- Call your local area community mediation center and request for a referrals — or request if your case would be appropriate for inexpensive community mediation.
- Get a hold of your local bar association and/or a nearby organization of counselors or financial consultants.
- Call your local legal aid office.
You should only work with a mediator that has knowledge in divorce cases and preferably one that is proficient with family law attorney. After you have gathered names, contact the mediators and inquire about questions you need to until you’re somewhat confident that you are able to work with this mediator.
Emily Doskow, A. (2016, August 17). Divorce mediation basics. www.nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/divorce-mediation-basics-36180.html.
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