Divorce Mediation

Mediation can be an excellent method of resolving family law issues - even for those couples with a high level of conflict. In fact, mediation (and collaborative practice) holds out the hope of transforming the entire nature of the conflict from one of adversarial warfare to cooperative problem solving. The mediator’s function is to: (1) act as a neutral third party who facilitates direct negotiations between spouses; (2) provide legal, psychological, and practical education on the issues to be resolved: and (3) assist the parties in identifying all possible alternative solutions.

A mediator can also assist in arranging for other professional services that may be needed in reaching an agreement (e.g., property and business appraisals, tax consultation, psychological consultation, etc.). When an agreement is reached, the mediator typically drafts a written settlement agreement that undertakes to clearly address all of the issues which need to be resolved. Finally, if the parties do not have their own independent attorneys, the mediator will usually prepare the judicial council forms necessary to ensure that the agreement is properly implemented by the courts.

Mediation works best when each party takes advantage of professional legal advice from a qualified family law attorney prior to entering into any final agreement. It does not require both parties to be good negotiators nor does it require both parties to be strong. One of the roles of the mediator is to help you to be a good negotiator and to help you to be strong. Mediation does require that both parties be willing to take the time, energy, and resources necessary to reach an agreement. Mediation should not be utilized with the assistance of attorneys if one of the parties is impaired by a mental or emotional illness or drug addiction.

You or your spouse may be unwilling to engage in mediation out of fear - fear of looking foolish or uneducated compared to your spouse, fear of being unable to tolerate the emotional turmoil of negotiation, or simple fear of making a mistake. An alternative that addresses these fears is collaborative practice.