A separation often leads up to feelings of resentment and anger, but divorce mediation often proves to be an affordable option for couples seeking divorce. When both parties are amicable and interested in the outcome, divorce mediation is a great alternative to a lengthy litigation process in which attorneys are paid to perform. Divorce mediation, which usually takes place before a judge and is administered by an independent mediator, provides a cost-effective way to expedite a divorce. If you and your husband or wife desire to avoid a lengthy litigation process, discovery, courtroom, and costly trial, you might benefit from divorce mediation as well.
During a divorce mediation, the parties meet with a professional who is experienced in family law. The mediator’s goal is to assist you with your divorce, so he/she will try to help you achieve your goals in the long term. Sometimes, this results in an agreeable long-term custody arrangement. Sometimes, the parties decide to resolve their custody and child custody disputes in a hurry, at which point court proceedings are avoided and time wasted.
Many divorcing couples choose to use divorce mediation as a way to avoid the costly expense of going to court. In these cases, the parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, including custody, visitation rights, child support, property division, and other important divorce-related issues. Prior to meeting with the mediator, the divorcing couple must have located a neutral third-party individual to serve as a surrogate “neutral party” in the case. The purpose of the “neutral party” is to ensure that neither the divorcing couples nor the attorneys involved spending too much time talking to one another.
Once the divorcing couple has determined their child custody and spousal support and other divorce-related issues, they and their attorneys then meet with the mediator one-on-one. During this one-on-one session, the mediator facilitates a relaxed yet informative dialogue between the divorcing spouses. Although the mediator is not involved in the case and does not mediate, he/she facilitates a positive, productive communication between the divorcing parties by gently interjecting their observations and advice.
Once the parties have met with the mediator, they both now discuss with the lawyer about the details of the mediation process. If the divorcing spouses are unable to reach an agreement, they will next take their issue to the judge. Mediation cannot be used as a means to resolve legal issues such as child support or spousal support. It is important to have a lawyer on retainer to ensure that any issues that arise during the mediation process are handled by the right attorney. Both your spouse’s and lawyer’s retainer fees can be shared through court costs.
You will want your divorce mediation experience to be pleasant. Therefore, it is necessary to be present in the meeting. If you can’t attend the actual mediation, if it is inconvenient for you to travel to a meeting location or if other matters require your attendance, your lawyer can offer to represent you in the meeting. Your lawyer will also provide you with legal advice regarding any issues that arise at the meeting. You will also be able to ask questions regarding any important aspects of the divorce, without publicly speaking your private information to the other spouse.
During the actual mediation session, it will be very important to remain professional and calm. Remember, this is your opportunity to communicate with your spouse in an honest, non-defensive manner. It is normal to feel upset or angry during this time. However, staying calm and maintaining respect will help you to better communicate with your spouse. Make sure your attorney is present and on time. As part of professional courtesy, your attorney should wait until the hearing date for the divorce matter has been set before contacting you.
Many mediators work with private law firms, so they can be very helpful in selecting the appropriate mediator. The right mediator can alleviate many of the difficulties that may occur during the divorce process. One of the most important things for you to remember is that you retain the services of a licensed, qualified attorney. A good attorney can help you get the results that you are seeking, which will make the proceedings much more manageable. Mediation can result in a quick and relatively painless divorce.