What is Divorce Mediation?

Going through a divorce is a contentious process. Spouses are in disagreement about what life after the divorce will look like for themselves, their children, and their family around them. The classic “Divorce Court” TV show style is to hire a couple of free-swinging lawyers, loose them in the court of battle, and let them duke it out for each side. This can accomplish the ending of a marriage, but can leave many points of disagreement, especially over custody of the children. How wealth and property is divided is a big one, too. Constant post-divorce struggles over the kids and where they’ll live and how often an ex-spouse gets to see them makes the exes combatants, when they should be concentrating on being parents.

What if there was a way to work things out in a calm and civil way before heading to divorce court, to settle points of contention beforehand, to make the divorce more amicable?

The answer could be in divorce mediation.

Divorce mediation is a way of finding solutions to issues like these that arise in a divorce proceeding.  During mediation, both spouses, along with their attorneys, meet with a court-appointed third party – the mediator. This mediator assists the parties in negotiating a resolution to their divorce. The divorcing spouses have the opportunity to discuss the issues, clear up any disagreements and come to an agreement that they both agree to.

It’s important to note the divorce mediator is an objective and detached third party. They are not there to resolve problems for the couple or force them to come to any agreement. The divorce mediator assists the spouses by helping them come to an agreement by acting as an intermediary. The divorce mediator is there for guidance. They may offer opinions or suggestions, but is not there to take a side.

What are some advantages of divorce mediation? 

  1. Divorce mediation can save time and money. If successful, divorce mediation means sidestepping the formal process of the divorce court. This shortens the divorce process for the spouses, reigns in attorney’s fees and helps ease up the caseload of the Family Court System.
  2. Divorce mediation is fair. The divorce mediator is an impartial third party that has no interest in the outcome. The divorce mediator is not on one side or the other. Also, the divorce mediator is an observer, not a participant in the divorce, so they have an objective view of the issues. The divorce mediator can suggest solutions that are not based on emotion.
  3. Divorce mediation is confidential and private. It happens outside the courtroom, without a court reporter furiously typing every word spoken for the record. There is no record. The divorce mediator takes notes to better understand the issues, but after the mediation the notes are destroyed. Divorce mediation happens in a private setting, often in a conference room or office, and out of public view.

The bottom line is, divorce mediation is a way for the soon to be ex-spouses to decide what happens in their own divorce. It’s a way to bring issues to rest without making a bad situation worse. It’s a way to lay the foundation for your post-divorce lives.

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