Deciding that it’s time to dissolve a marriage is never easy for either party, even if it’s the best option for you and your family. The stigma surrounding divorce is often one of heated arguments and each party doing his or her best to make the other party suffer for marital mistakes.
While that is the case in some divorces, it certainly doesn’t have to be the case in yours. Many couples can still interact with one another on an amicable, rational, and co-operative basis, which enables them to pursue non-litigated divorce methods such as mediation.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Although divorce mediation is sometimes done with just one attorney participating, it’s most common for both parties to retain the services of their own attorney. Then both parties agree on a divorce mediator who is specially trained to help couples negotiate their divorce. The mediator should be impartial, and will have an end goal of developing a final settlement where both sides feel as if they were treated fairly.
One of the reasons divorce mediation is such a valuable process for both parties is the non-aggressive and co-operative communication it fosters. Being able to sit down with one another to compromise and work through the divorce issues may act as a foundation for future communications.
The assistance of a mediator is especially valuable for couples with children. Custody, parenting, support and time sharing issues are often the most contentious issues in divorce proceedings. A divorce mediator can help you and your spouse find realistic solutions that are equitable and stability enhancing.
Divorce is especially difficult on children, as is adjusting to living in a two-family household. A divorce mediator can help you and your ex compromise on these issues and foster a sense of calm and collaboration.
The importance of maintaining the mindset that you and your former husband or wife are still partners in terms of raising your children is essential not only to reach an effective settlement, but also to ensure that settlement and co-operation last well into the future.
Mediation is also significantly healthier for your children. The more you two can get along and make a shared parenting plan work, the less vitriol the children will experience in their home lives.
How Does the Divorce Mediation Process Work?
The divorce mediation process generally takes place over a few meetings. The times of these meetings are dictated by the availability of all parties involved, including the mediator, both attorneys and both spouses. So, scheduling can be a challenge.
During the first meeting, the divorce mediator will spend most of the time firmly establishing the issues and goals of each party. The mediator will work with you to rank these issues by importance in order to understand your priorities. After that’s been established, the divorce mediator will detail all the relevant information that needs to be acquired and shared to ensure the parties have what they need to make informed decisions.
After the first meeting, you and your spouse will be tasked with gathering the necessary information or any required resources, whether they be financial documents, appraisals, insurance information or other items of importance.
The subsequent meetings between you, your mediator and your attorney will be dedicated to meeting you and your spouse’s divorce settlement goals through compromise and discussion. This is where the mediator’s pragmatism and impartiality are especially important.
Once both parties agree to a negotiated settlement, the mediator will finalize a draft for review by each party’s attorneys. The final settlement agreement is drafted by one of the parties’ attorneys based upon the mediator’s statement of the settlement terms.
Will Mediation Work for Your Case?
If you and your spouse are amicable enough to agree on most issues and are willing to sit in the same room together, you may be good candidates for divorce mediation. If you prefer, you can choose to do “shuttle mediation’’ where, instead of you and your spouse being in the same room, the mediator “shuttles” between you and your spouse who are in separate rooms, and works out an agreement between you. If you would like to learn more about the mediation process or how to begin divorce mediation, please contact the helpful, compassionate family law professionals at the Conniff Law Offices.
They can represent you throughout the process as well as provide several reputable divorce mediator options for your consideration.