Mediation is a well-known alternative to litigation and is often the most affordable, fastest, and most civil way to settle a divorce. Successful mediation can save your family money while shortening the divorce process.
Mediating disputes that arise after divorce is a cost-effective way to resolve issues due to changes in circumstances or a spouse’s violation of the court’s divorce decree.
We offer both in-person and Zoom mediation sessions.
3 Ways Mediation is Different from Litigation
Types of Mediation
Private Mediation – Spouses Mediate With or Without Lawyers Before a Divorce Case is Filed
In private mediation, we work to resolve all of the issues in your divorce and then draft settlement documents setting out those agreements. Settlement documents can include a divorce settlement agreement, a parenting plan, and child support worksheet. We suggest that each spouse have their own lawyer review any mediation agreement before signing it. We are happy to provide attorney referrals for this purpose.
Court-Connected Mediation – Judge Orders You to Attend Mediation
If the judge in your case has ordered you and your spouse to mediate the outstanding issues in your divorce, your attorney can contact us to schedule mediation. We are registered mediators trained specifically in domestic relations mediation.
What To Expect in Your Mediation Session
Most mediations follow a similar pattern. If your mediation is court-connected your experience might be somewhat different than the process described here, but in all important respects it will be the same.
Typically, you and your attorney will speak with the mediator or their assistant in advance of the day of mediation and provide background information about your marriage, family and the issues to be mediated. You may also be asked to complete a questionnaire and financial affidavit prior to mediation. When advance communication is not possible, this information will be gathered at the outset of the mediation.
Before mediation begins, the mediator will explain what you can expect from the process. For example, the mediator may tell you that everyone will be in the same room for the entire mediation or that you may meet in separate sessions so that the mediator can hear your views or positions privately. The mediator will also ask you to sign an agreement that says that everyone in the mediation will keep what is said during mediation confidential and that the mediator can’t disclose anything that occurs in mediation in a later court proceeding.
After the mediator has gone over the basics, you will have an opportunity to make a statement about your situation, as will your spouse. After each of you has had a chance to speak, the mediator is likely to ask some questions to clarify or get more information about what you have said. The mediator may also paraphrase or repeat what you have said in order to be sure that the mediator, your spouse and attorneys have understood all of your points. The same process will apply with respect to your spouse.
The next step will be to assess where you and your spouse agree and where you need some work to reach an agreement. Once you have a sense of what needs to be accomplished, you, your spouse, and the mediator will plan how you are going to proceed. It is possible that you will need to gather more information, especially if you are dealing with significant property issues and/or child custody questions. The mediator will help you figure out what information you need. You all may agree to pause the mediation and reconvene at a later date when all relevant information is available.
At the outset of the mediation, the mediator might suggest that you deal with simpler issues first. This might feel like “beginning at the end” but coming to agreement early on some issues will help the mediation to get off on the right foot. The mediator will help you stay on track and brainstorm options and possible solutions. The mediator also will encourage you and your spouse to express your opinions, positions, and what is important to you, and will help you to listen to each other in ways that will make a resolution more likely. The most important things you can do to make your mediation successful are to be open to compromise, to listen to what your spouse is telling you about what is important to them, and to respect your spouse’s point of view.
Understanding your spouse’s position does not mean you have to agree with it. But it is possible that once you do understand what your spouse’s real concerns are, you will have new ideas about how to resolve things. Your efforts at understanding your spouse’s underlying interests will often encourage your spouse to do the same, and you are more likely to reach a solution that works for you if your spouse really understands what is important to you. Being open to compromise means that you are not attached to a particular solution – a compromise that works is one that satisfies some of your interests and some of your spouse’s interests.
Once your negotiations are finished and you have agreed on solutions, either the mediator or one of the attorneys, if present, will write an agreement and parenting plan, if necessary. These documents will be incorporated with the rest of your divorce paperwork and will become part of your divorce judgment. Your agreement, once signed, will be binding.