Divorce is a tough decision for many people to contemplate. Of late, there are several methods to choose from and Mediation is one of them. Mediated Divorce allows people to take charge and control of their lives and make decisions about their future.
The couple meets with a mediator – it could be a series of meetings. Issues that have to be discussed are listed and information is gathered and shared. Information about finances, children, division of property etc. are all listed and discussed. At these meetings, the needs and issues relevant to both parties are discussed and resolution is sought. When an agreement is reached on all the issues, the mediator drafts an agreement for review by both parties and their respective attorneys. A lawyer can be a mediator, but he cannot take sides.
This is beneficial for both parties as it allows them to work out their differences amicably and make good decisions regarding their own futures and that of the children. Mediated settlements have a higher compliance as the parties have arrived at these decisions on their own, through compromise.
A family law mediator’s role is a neutral one – with special training to help couples reach some decisions about their divorce. The mediator tries to help both parties communicate well and get clarity on issues. He also provides information on the legalities and alternatives for solving problems that crop up during such a stressful time. If and when necessary, the mediator can also refer the couple to third parties for services such as evaluations and appraisals.
Costs vary from state to state – check with the local Bar Association or contact a law firm to get some indication. The costs will include mediation sessions, Marital Settlement Agreement preparation, Petition Preparation, Disclosure Documents, Court filing fee etc. The court documents and Marital Settlement fees are generally paid in advance.