Many couples are choosing to work through their divorce via mediation. In mediation, the couple meets with an experienced and neutral third party, the mediator. Together, they work to decide on the issues that need resolution in order to amicably and cost effectively dissolve the marriage. The issues covered typically include:
Distribution of Property (Assets/Liabilities)
Child Custody Arrangements and Allocation of Parenting Time
Retirement and Taxes
Mediation can be a lower-stress, cost-effective option if a couple wants to avoid going to court. Mediation is also a good solution for couples who feel they want a more active role in their divorce settlement. And, if a couple hires an experienced divorce attorney, they can rest assured that their legal concerns will be well covered, as well.
During mediation meetings, the couple works out agreements regarding all aspects of the issues. The mediator’s job is to step in to intervene when needed, by refocusing attention, brainstorming ideas, and injecting objective insight as needed. The mediator can be someone hired as an outside consultant, such as an experienced divorce attorney. A mediator’s main goals are to be objective, work with flexible solutions as needed, and allow both parties to feel heard and fairly represented. The mediator will keep whatever is shared during mediation sessions as confidential information. A divorce mediator does not represent either spouse, nor can he or she offer advice to either party. The focus must remain on neutrality, regardless of the situation. That is how mediation works best. His or her goal is to assist both parties to formulate ideas, willingly negotiate, and agree together on how to assign assets, debt and other estate and custody issues.
Mediation is a voluntary process and works as long as both parties agree to it, usually in multiple sessions that span weeks or months. The length of mediation is often dictated by what issues are at stake and how mediation sessions progress. The time spent in mediation is greatly reduced if some agreement options can be made even prior to mediation, but for many couples, attempting to discuss divorce details without outside support, the results can be contentious.
The average number of sessions for pre-decree divorce mediation tends to run between 4 and 10 sessions, depending on the flexibility of the parties to compromise. While mediation is not right for every couple, when it is a good fit, they can work together one last time to resolve the issues and move forward.