Divorces are not always completely adversarial and antagonistic battles. In some cases, two people agree on many important and significant parts of the divorce, but may still have a few major issues outstanding. If this is the case, then the divorce mediation process may be an option for your particular circumstances.
Understanding Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation will include you, your spouse, your respective attorneys, and a neutral third-party called a mediator. The mediation process is much less expensive than having full adversarial litigation proceedings in a court. Additionally, the mediation process allows all sides to participate and feel that their concerns are heard. Perhaps even more importantly, divorce mediation discussions are never public record, and therefore all conversations are completely private. Divorce mediation can be a collaborative effort that may result in all parties feeling represented.
Divorce Mediation Process
Every professional divorce mediator will have their own process in place regarding the way they do the divorce mediation, however, the timeline generally follows this protocol:
- Contact with the Mediator – The first step is for the parties attorneys to directly contact the mediator, explain some of their generalized concerns.
- First Meeting – The first meeting typically occurs to introduce everyone to each other, and start a foundation of cooperation. In most cases, both parties will bring any relevant paperwork that is requested by the mediator regarding any outstanding points of disagreement.
- Starting Mediation – Both parties will state their preferences regarding any outstanding points of disagreement, and what their expectations are for the mediation process. Both sides will always have an opportunity to speak and ask questions.
- Pockets of Agreement – There likely will be several areas of agreement between both parties. These pockets of agreement will create the foundation upon which the rest of the mediation will take place. If two people can come to an agreement regarding even one major issue, it provides a solid ground to move forward into other areas that need compromise.
- Actual Negotiations – When simpler issues have been decided upon, and trust and communication has been established, the mediator will help negotiate between both parties. It is important to note that the mediator will not force a decision on either party. However, due to their experience, they may have unexpected or unique options available to both parties during the divorce process that they may have not previously considered
- Final Agreement – Determinations can be made in the mediation process that relate to child custody issues, child support calculations, spousal support calculations, visitation plans, and even the equitable division of marital property. After both parties have reached an agreement, this can be submitted to the court and included in the final divorce paperwork.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are going through a divorce or considering a divorce, you may feel that there are certain areas of disagreement that you cannot seem to find a mutually beneficial agreement with your spouse. Contact an experienced family law attorney at The Blacknall Firm to learn how the divorce mediation process may help you.