What is Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a voluntary, cooperative settlement process used frequently and successfully by married couples who want to divorce and couples who are not married, but share children or finances and want to separate. Mediation gives couples the option to settle all parenting and financial matters and plan their futures in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect. With the guidance of a trained Mediator, couples can make agreements that meet the individual needs of their families.
What is a Divorce Mediator?
A Divorce Mediator is a neutral, third party trained in conflict resolution who works with couples to guide them through the process of separation and divorce.
What Does a Divorce Mediator Do?
- Empowers couples to work cooperatively in an non-threatening environment
- Facilitates conversation in an non-adversarial way
- Helps manages strong emotions and reduces conflicts
- Helps identify individual and family goals
- Assists couples to explore reasonable options
- Guides couples to solutions that can meet the needs of the entire family
- Documents your decisions and prepares a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that addresses parenting, custody, division of marital property and support
- Enables couples and families to move on with their lives
Without taking sides a divorce Mediator works with couples to reach settlements that are in the best interest of their families.
What Happens When the Process Is Over?
When the process is over, an attorney will draft a Separation and Settlement Agreement from the MOU prepared from your Mediator and any other legal documents required by the Court and file everything with the Court. Typically a mediated divorce can be completed in 6-8 months. Litigated divorces take an average of 18 months or longer.
Advantages of Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation is the preferred choice for couples and families facing separation and divorce because it:
- Encourages a spirit of cooperation
- Improves communication between couples
- Gives couples more control over the process
- Provides significant cost savings
- Takes far less time
- Allows couples to make better decisions for their families
- Is more emotionally protective of children
Divorce Mediation and Families
Help families by enabling parents to come together to focus on their children’s futures and create parenting plans that meet all their children’s needs
When parents cooperate with this in mind, they are often able to communicate and resolve other matters more effectively.
Mediation helps steer couples away from putting children in the middle of their dispute – which is damaging at any age. The focus is to PROTECT the ENTIRE FAMILY!
Mediation helps parents deal with their anger so that they can put the needs of their children first, ultimately demonstrating a good role model for their children.
Divorce Mediation & Finances
Mediation helps couples understand their finances. During the process the couple and the Mediator will thoroughly review:
- Assets and Liabilities
- Child and or Spousal Support
- Household Budgets
- Retirement Accounts
- Education for you and or your Children
As part of the process your Mediator will suggest having an attorney review their agreement and/or consult on specific issues.
If finances are complex, a couple may benefit from working with a neutral financial professional such as a financial planner, accountant or an actuary.
Is Mediation Right for Everyone?
For couples that may not agree on much, divorce mediation is still a possibility. The only pre-requisite is that they would be willing to discuss the issues in a safe setting and to keep an open mind.