What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative to divorcing through the court system. Instead of having a judge make decisions for you, in mediation, you and your spouse can establish a settlement that works for your family as a whole. Many couples find this an attractive option because it means you are not at the mercy of the court. You can work through issues directly and make compromises that suit both you and your spouse. Instead of having a mentality of “winning” the divorce, and making your spouse suffer, you can collaborate with your spouse to find a solution that works for both of you.
What is a Mediator?
Mediation includes the use of a mediator – a neutral third party who will listen to both sides and help you reach a decision that you are both comfortable with. I have acted as a mediator in mediation before, and am happy to take on this role in your divorce. I use skills such as negotiation, facilitation, legal skills, problem solving skills, and dispute resolution to help you identify areas of contention in your divorce, as well as things that you agree on. I can provide you with suggestions for compromise and trouble shoot with you. However, keep in mind that all final decisions in mediation must be your own. A mediator can make suggestions, but they cannot make these decisions for you.
Also, remember that a mediator is a neutral third party. The mediator will not act as the lawyer for one or both parties. You may hire your own attorneys to participate in the mediation process if you want legal representation; or you may utilize the services of a mediator only to keep costs down and make the process more efficient.
What is the Mediation Process?
After the mediator has reviewed basic information, you will get a chance to make a statement in regards to your situation, as will your spouse. After each have spoken, the mediator will then ask more questions to gain more information. The mediator will often go back to things you have said to make sure your points are understood. Next the mediator will assess where you and your spouse agree on and where you both need work on in order to successfully achieve an agreement. When negotiations begin, the mediator may suggest that you deal with simpler issues at first this helps by encouraging compromise when issues become more difficult. Negotiation agreements aren’t always simple this is where the mediator will help by coming up with options and encouraging you and your spouse to express opinions and positions. Two things that will help the mediation process especially in negotiations is to be open to compromise and to listen to, and try to understand, your spouse’s point of view. When negotiations are complete, the mediator or your attorney (if you chose to use one) will drafts an agreement. This will be incorporated with the rest of the divorce paperwork and become part of the judgment.
What Makes Mediation Work?
Before going through the mediation process, it is important to consider your relationship with your spouse. Can you put aside your differences and speak with them honestly about what you want? Are you willing to listen and give your spouse what they want? If you feel that you are too angry to do this, mediation might not be a good option for you. You and your spouse may not be able to come to an agreement that works for both of you.
Mediation works when the parties involved can commit to:
- Neutrality: Mediators are neutral third parties used to assist throughout the entire process from service of process to final judgment.
- Transparency: Are you willing to be honest with your spouse and tell them what you want? Are you willing to listen to your spouse? It is important that all parties involved can be honest with their motives and intentions throughout the process.
- Efficiency: A mediator will distill your issues to their essence. Mediators are trained and know exactly what processes and procedures need to be followed to get you divorced quickly and effortlessly. The mediator will prepare all necessary documents and guide you through the process from beginning to end.
- Collaboration: Are you willing and able to collaborate and compromise with your spouse? Mediators will help you work together for the best possible outcome for your family.
Mediation can be an excellent alternative to a traditional court divorce because it gives you control of the outcome. If you feel that you and your spouse are good candidates for mediation, I am happy to act as your mediator. My legal background and experience in mediation means that I can help you and your spouse get what you want out of this process. Contact me today.