Mediation is a very common method of negotiating a divorce settlement. You and your spouse have a neutral third-party come in and work with you to resolve certain issues in your divorce proceeding. The mediator does not make any decisions but instead facilitates to help you and your spouse determine what’s best.
There are a number of reasons why mediation is a good idea in a divorce, including the following:
-Mediation is cost effective.
-Most mediations end in a settlement.
-Mediation is 100% confidential, with no public record of your sessions.
-Mediation allows you to resolve your issues based on what you feel is fair.
Keep in mind that you can still use a lawyer, and in fact, you are encouraged to seek legal advice throughout your divorce process.
The Mediation Process
While each mediator has his own way of handling things, most mediations are similar. You will talk with your mediator ahead of time and provide him a general background about your marriage, family, and issues that lead to the decision to get divorced. Some mediators may ask for more information than others, while others prefer to obtain the information when everyone has gathered in person.
You will attend a meeting when the mediator will outline what you can expect during the process. You may have to sign agreements or review documents that better outline the mediation process. You should expect the mediator to try and make you feel comfortable and at ease through this difficult time.
Once your mediator has reviewed the basics with you, you may have the opportunity to make a statement regarding your situation. The mediator may ask questions now and then, but from there you will work with the mediator to determine where you’re at and how you can accomplish rectifying any issues you may have.
Once you enter into the negotiation phase, you’ll probably be asked to deal with simple issues first, and moving on from there. This helps you build trust with the mediator. You’ll quickly understand that you must be willing to give on some issues if you want to win on others. For example, you could agree to let your spouse have the expensive stereo equipment in exchange for the computer you use often. Don’t expect to win on every count.
Once the negotiation is finished and you’ve arrived at an agreeable solution, either your attorney or the mediator will write the agreement, and perhaps a parenting plan will also be incorporated. Any documents generated by the mediator will be incorporated into your overall divorce settlement.