Frequently Asked Questions
What is Divorce Mediation?
In mediation, the parties, with the help of a trained mediator, negotiate directly with each other to reach an agreement on all aspects of their separation. Couples negotiate and resolve issues such as the division of property, parenting arrangements and child support. The mediator is a neutral party whose function is to facilitate negotiations by identifying issues, exploring potential solutions and advising the parties of all matters that should be addressed in a final agreement. The result is a less contentious and less expensive divorce.
Many mediators are attorneys with special training in divorce mediation. After the parties reach an agreement, the mediator, who is also an attorney, will draft a memorandum embodying the terms.
If We Can't Get Along, How Can We Mediate?
In order for a couple to mediate the terms of their divorce, they do not have to be best friends. Marital difficulties are often accompanied by anger, distrust and a breakdown in communication between spouses. A skilled mediator can diffuse negative feelings and help each party present his or her needs in a way that the other can hear and understand. This enables the parties to fashion an acceptable agreement.
Is Mediation A Substitute For Having My Own Attorney?
Mediation does not eliminate the need for lawyers. Mediation simply changes the role of lawyers from adversarial negotiators to legal consultants. Throughout the mediation, parties are encouraged to consult with their own attorneys if they have questions regarding their legal rights. Parties who have not consulted with a lawyer during the process often choose to have the final agreement reviewed by their own counsel before signing it. Mediation substantially reduces legal fees by limiting the lawyer's function to reviewing the final agreement and serving as a legal consultant during the process.
If My Finances Are Complex, Can I Mediate?
Complicated finances do not preclude divorce through mediation. Mediators often assist couples in retaining financial advisors, appraisers, tax advisors and estate attorneys to assist in structuring the settlement.
Do I Give Up Any Rights By Agreeing To Mediate?
By agreeing to mediate, you do not relinquish any of your legal rights and the mediation can be discontinued at any point if you, your spouse or the mediator feel that the process is unproductive. At the beginning of mediation, you are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that everything discussed in mediation remains confidential and will not be disclosed in court.