Divorce mediation is becoming an increasingly well known and widely accepted alternative to conventional divorce procedures. While there are several different styles of mediation, it is always a voluntary and confidential process designed to help couples work through their disputes and disagreements. Mediation is the least adversarial way to end a marriage in that couples are guided toward working out mutually fair and reasonable agreements on issues such as:
- Parenting arrangements
- Child support
- Division of property
ROLE OF THE MEDIATOR
A divorce mediator is a neutral party trained to assist couples in identifying the issues, communicating, and moving forward toward a resolution. A lawyer can be present during mediation or can be used as an advisor between sessions. The goal is to reach agreements that work for both parties. The divorce mediator then drafts a memorandum of understanding for both parties to review, after which it is given to the attorneys for legal implementation. This document becomes the basis for an uncontested divorce.
Choosing mediation does not mean that you will not need the services of an attorney. The difference in deciding to use mediation is that you ultimately make the decisions that will affect your life. They should, however, be informed decisions made with the advice of counsel.
BENEFITS OF MEDIATION
The main advantage of mediation is that it keeps the couple in control of the divorce process. Other benefits include:
- Individuals maintain their self-respect
- Family relationships are protected
- A foundation for continued co-parenting is established
- Children benefit from reduced conflict
- Focus is on present and future, not the past
- Strengthens commitment to an agreement
- Avoids public disclosure of personal matters
- Controls costs, both financially and emotionally, of the divorce process
- Divorcing couples can save money by sharing knowledge and working together within existing tax laws.
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