Why Divorce Mediation?
The truth is divorce is hard in several ways. Divorcing a spouse can be incredibly emotionally distressing and there may be many “what ifs” and unknowns that make it hard to feel secure in the decision to move forward with a divorce. It can be financially distressing, because unless you are incredibly wealthy, there usually are no easy ways to split assets and debts. It may even be socially distressing with loss of social supports or tension within social support networks that were once friendly with you and your spouse. By considering the distressing parts of divorce you can better prepare yourself to healthily navigate through the difficult divorce process.
If you have found yourself at the place of determining that ending your marriage is the best decision for you and maybe even your family, mediation may be a good choice for you as an alternative to litigation. Mediators are not held to the same rigid standards as divorce attorneys. A divorce mediator can work on behalf of both spouses to assist each with coming to a fair and equitable division of assets and debts.
Successful divorce mediation requires that each spouse come to the mediation process with the willingness to hear one another out, participate in discussion about how assets and liabilities are divided, and a willingness to have an open mind. Divorce mediation tends to be less stressful and distressing overall. This is due in part to the fact that divorce mediation is non-adversarial. With mediation you are working with one mediator, as opposed to two lawyers that are arguing over what is best, which may end up in the judge’s hands if an agreement is not reached. Control over the divorce process is placed directly in the hands of the divorcing spouses with mediation. The mediator’s goal is the assist the spouses with navigating to a fair and equitable compromise that allows each party to leave the mediation believing that the decisions they made together were fair to both parties involved. Your emotional, financial, and social health may thank you for choosing mediation over traditional litigation.
What is the Divorce Mediation Process?
Divorce mediation starts with a simple phone call by one of the spouses, or both, to schedule an appointment. Usually at that time, the mediator will briefly explain the process and cost of services. The mediator will not meet with either of the spouses on their own and will not email with divorce mediation clients, this is a safeguard to avoid developing a bias toward one of the spouses.
Once an appointment is scheduled the spouses will attend their first hour appointment in which they will review the contract that outlines the role of the mediator, the confidential nature of the process, the responsibilities of the parties, the voluntary nature of the process, as well as the fees, and the client’s rights to rely on outside resources. Once the contract is understood and signed, the mediator will then work to collect relevant information and assist each spouse with resolving issues by examining the facts and assisting each party with negotiating their agreement. The agreement will need to be clear and specific, so it can be enforced. The agreement will also need to be in the best interest of the children, if children are involved, and the agreement will need to be equitable based upon the circumstances of the parities. One-hour meetings will continue to be scheduled until all necessary areas are agreed upon in order to obtain an uncontested divorce.
Once all areas are agreed upon your mediator will review the agreement with the spouses to verify that both parties understand and agree to the entire agreement. The mediator will then formulate and complete what is referred to as a Memorandum of Understanding, which the spouses can take to their attorneys for review. Once both parties feel confident or have had their lawyers review the Memorandum they will sign, the mediator will sign, and each of the parties and mediator will keep an original copy. This Memorandum of Understanding will then be taken by the spouses to their attorneys or on their own to be filed with the court in the parties’ final divorce decree.
Divorce is difficult and scary. It can feel lonely and confusing as well. It is important that you know it is possible to come to a fair resolution with your spouse, so you can move forward toward a future that feels bright. Let our divorce mediator assist you in the divorce process.