In divorce mediation, the parties meet with an impartial trained mediator to come up with solutions for disputes in their divorce, including issues such as custody, parenting time, division of assets and debts, child support, and maintenance. When compared to a collaborative divorce, divorce mediation differs in that it doesn’t require an attorney. Instead, a mediator will work with the parties to help establish their goals and facilitate joint decision-making, as well as reach a written divorce settlement.
Mediation is effective for couples who are looking for amicable solutions that are affordable and timely, and focus on each party’s needs and interests. A trained divorce mediator will remain objective throughout the process and work with the parties to foster a safe and stable environment, conducive to communication and settlement.
Mediation can be especially beneficial when there are children involved in a divorce. Mediation can help parents find solutions for transitioning the children into two households and developing a parenting schedule that allows both parents to have an active role in their children’s lives. Mediation is also an effective method for resolving financial issues in a divorce. With the assistance of a trained mediator, the parties can work on realistic budgets for two homes, share financial information, and discuss and arrive at a plan for sharing assets and liabilities.
Divorce mediation also works well when cases involve complex asset structures. The parties can work cooperatively to exchange documents, arrive at creative solutions, and avoid the expense and considerable time needed for the divorce litigation process.
Mediation is most effective when there is equal bargaining power and where there is an open and honest exchange of information.
Each party always has the option during the mediation process to hire his or her own attorney. However, after the parties reach a mediated divorce settlement, at least one of the parties will hire a divorce attorney to represent him or her to draft a settlement agreement, and finalize the divorce process in court. The other party always has the choice to hire his or her own divorce attorney to review the settlement agreement and be present when the divorce process is finalized in court.