Mediation Matters: Working Things Out With Your Divorce

Divorce mediation has become increasingly popular with divorcing couples. This way of resolving differences outside of court is often a successful and less-expensive way to handle contentious issues. For more information, read on.

When Issues Arise

As you and your spouse confer with your divorce lawyers, it may become apparent that you don't see eye-to-eye on some matters. For example, perhaps you disagree on the marital property or who should pay a certain debt. The best-case scenario is to work everything out over the kitchen table, but some couples end up trying to resolve issues over a conference room table instead. Divorce settlement conferences can sometimes help the couple to come to agreements but not always. Often, rather than take things that the couple disagrees about before the family court judge, they may decide to try a last-ditch effort and agree to divorce mediation.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Like all forms of mediation, the process generally includes the mediator speaking to the parties together to get an idea of the issues and then working separately with each party to help form some cohesion on things. After speaking with both parties, they separate into different rooms and the mediator goes back and forth with each party and they discuss one issue at a time. Often, easier and less-emotional issues are dealt with first and then things move towards the tougher issues like child custody. The idea is to use a casual, non-confrontational strategy to encourage flexibility and forge a compromise on disputed issues.

What You Need to Know

It's vital to understand these facts about divorce mediation:

  1. Mediators are working for both of you. They will remain neutral and focus only on the issues at hand. If you don't get along with the mediator, speak to your lawyer about stopping the session and hiring a new mediator.
  2. Judges may order couples to attend mediation sessions in some cases. However, the cost of the mediation is always the responsibility of the parties regardless of the motivation.
  3. Mediators are usually trained in mediation techniques and have knowledge of divorce laws. However, they are not often lawyers themselves and you should not expect to get legal advice from the mediator.
  4. As you and your spouse agree on an issue, your divorce lawyer will discuss it with you and then put it in writing for your signatures. It will eventually become part of the divorce decree.

To find out more about how mediation can benefit your divorce, speak to your divorce lawyer for recommendations and referrals to a professional mediator.

For more information, contact a family law attorney near you.