Divorce mediation is an alternative non-disciplinary method for resolving marital problems in which both parties are represented by trained and experienced divorce lawyers. Divorce mediation involves an impartial third party who facilitates the parties’ communication and provides advice on how to resolve their differences and possible future interactions. Divorce mediation has been widely successful, both in terms of cost and satisfaction. It is often used before a divorce case is filed and it also presents the opportunity for you and your spouse to discuss your problems face to face. Divorce mediation usually leads to an agreement that the spouses can agree upon without court involvement.
Divorce mediation may be a helpful tool if your situation is relatively simple and uncontested. In this type of mediation, both you and your spouse can discuss your concerns with the other without attorneys and/or court appointments. In divorce mediation, you and your spouse can also agree on child custody arrangements and other key issues such as dividing finances and other issues that have complex legal aspects. Divorce mediation has been successfully used by many married couples who wish to divorce, as well as by domestic relations practitioners and attorneys who represent one spouse.
During divorce mediation, your attorney will ask the other spouse to agree to certain written agreements regarding child custody, visitation, child support, alimony and other relevant issues. If your situation is complex, your attorney may request a temporary or permanent injunction on the behavior described above. For instance, if you are seeking child custody, your lawyer may suggest that the other spouse attend parenting classes or take parenting classes themselves. The purpose of the parenting classes is to provide additional guidance to the parents so that they can come up with an agreement that is in the best interests of the child.
Divorce mediation provides both you and your spouse with a valuable opportunity to communicate important issues without becoming heated. The goal of divorce mediation is to facilitate communication between the parties so that they can arrive at an agreement about these matters without the public glare of the media. A mediator is unbiased, so there are no biases involved. In addition, divorce mediation prevents you from wasting time and money on a lengthy litigation process.
Most couples that use divorce mediation feel better about their relationships after the process. Many individuals do not see how much improvement can be made when one spouse is constantly trying to get a judge to favor his/her viewpoint. In most cases, couples who begin divorce mediation early to find that they can work out an agreement without the cost and stress of a lengthy court battle. Even if the settlement does not go as planned, couples who begin divorce mediation early on usually find that the process goes much more smoothly than if they tried to go it alone.
No matter what the results of the divorce mediation, divorcing couples who use it will still have to deal with the issues of child custody and visitation. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous individuals who make it their business to try to convince divorcing couples that they should divide their property and belongings equally, rather than equally share them. There are even people who will testify in court about what your spouse has done to hurt you while you were married. These “testifying’ spouses should be avoided, no matter what the circumstances. A court will not take the guilt of an individual who tries to blame another for his/her marital problems. Instead, the judge will look at each spouse’s behavior in the situation, ask you questions about what you remember or did not notice, and decide how each party’s behavior affects the children.
Before hiring a divorce mediation or mediator, be sure to check the credentials and history of that individual. Do your homework regarding any complaints that may have been filed against the mediator or evaluator. It may be a good idea to also request documentation about the payment of all expenses that were charged to the mediator or evaluator by either party. Also, make sure the family law attorney that is representing you is not associated with any negative cases involving the same mediator or evaluator. It is also a good idea to contact the Association of Personal Mediators to inquire about any educational requirements, licensure or other special training that the mediator or evaluator has received.
In the end, both parties should be satisfied with the services provided during the divorce mediation or evaluation process. If this is not the case, both sides may want to consider hiring a different family law attorney to handle the litigation regarding the settlement. This helps both sides to stay happy with the results.