MEDIATION: A CIVILIZED METHOD TO BECOME DIVORCED



A Family Law mediator who mediates divorcing couples should have experience in divorce related cases and mediations, be ethical and have an ability to explain. Legal training for a divorce mediator is helpful, but specifically marital divorce experience is particularly important since the practice of divorce law requires not only skill and knowledge but the ability to understand how to assist parties.

Mediation: It is one type of dispute resolution in which the participants meet with a trained neutral person, a mediator, in order to work through their issues. These meetings typically occur outside the presence of attorneys. After each session, a mediator will usually issue a written summary of what was accomplished, which can then be forwarded to the parties respective attorneys for review and input.

A mediator does not take sides or represent the interests of either party but moderates the discussions between the parties, often making non-binding suggestions. The participants retain control over the process and therefore the results. The driving force behind mediation is the motivation to settle at a controlled cost in a controlled setting. Occasionally, the mediator will work in tandem with a psychologist or various other combinations of professionals in order to help the parties move effectively toward settlement.

Interactive Mediation: It is a similar process but one that includes the participation of attorneys in the mediation sessions. Often attorneys will first prepare a summary of the case for the mediator, which saves time and effectively bringing the mediator up to speed on the unresolved aspects of the divorce. For example, it is entirely possible for parties to have resolved the matter of custody but not visitation; or to have resolved all matters concerning the children but not those pertaining to the division of the marital property.

An interactive family law mediator may be an attorney or a retired judge. The interactive mediator may make non-binding suggestions and although the parties still retain control over the results, the mediator is an active participant as well as a moderator.

Attorneys: It is typically advisable for the mediating couple to each have their own attorneys to review whatever agreement may be reached, as the agreement is a binding legal document. This is a safety valve which is well worth the expense, and that expense is typically dramatically less than what would have been incurred without mediation. The Attorney s role is to review all documents, assist in the preparation of the financial statement and all court filings. The Attorney can also be retained to bring the matter before the court for the court s final review.

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