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Q: Explain how divorce mediation works?
A:
Divorce mediation is an out of court process where the spouses utilize a neutral lawyer/mediator to workout separation agreements, custody issues, and financial issues. It is an alternative to divorce litigation. The approach in a mediated case involves the spouses entering into amicable, reasonable negotiations regarding all of the significant issues. The parties to a mediation must be prepared to make compromises to promote the children’s best interests and to avoid expensive litigation. Mediation works well in cases where the spouses are reasonable, can communicate with each other, are prepared to compromise and want to move on with their lives without getting involved in contentious litigation.

Q: Who acts as the mediator in divorce mediation?
A:
A divorce mediator is a neutral party who does not represent either of the spouses in the mediation. The divorce mediator assists the spouses in discussing the issues and working out reasonable compromises and settlements concerning issues involving custody, child support, equitable distribution, who gets the house, pension issues and all other matters involving the parties to the divorce. What mediators don’t do is make decisions for the parties in the mediation. The spouses must ultimately make the decisions on their own. The mediator makes meaningful suggestions and recommendations and works with the parties to amicably resolve the issues facing them in a divorce and put the settlement down on paper.

Q: Are there benefits to mediation?
A:
Mediation is simply an alternative option to litigating a divorce case. The benefits of a mediator involve avoiding the hostile, long term, negative divorce situation. Mediation can be especially successful when the parties are both interested in working out a joint custody/joint parenting situation.

Q: When is it practicable to use a divorce mediator?
A:
This is not a simple question. Mediation is not right for the large majority of divorce cases. Cases involving allegations of domestic violence or significant issues between the parties are not well suited for mediation. Mediation should only be considered if the parties are both reasonable individuals, willing to work out all issues and are prepared to put the children’s best interests before their own interests. You can discuss whether a mediation is appropriate with the attorneys from our law office prior to having any obligation to go forward with a mediation of a marital dispute.

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