Divorce Mediation – Can it Be Helpful?
By: Megan Mason
Divorce mediation is basically a non-formal settlement procedure used successfully and often by married couples wishing to divorce, with the help of a professionally trained divorce mediator Long Island. A divorce mediation expert can assist in guiding the process of separating a couple so that both parties can come to mutually beneficial terms without having to go to court. Mediation is useful as both parties have the opportunity to be heard and have their say, rather than having to listen to the arbitrator or judge.
There are two types of divorce mediation. The first is where the parties themselves mediate. The second is where a neutral third party also acts as a mediator. These parties may include a spouse, parent, child, friend or relative. Some states have special laws that allow divorce mediation to take place outside of the state if the court allows it.
The use of divorce mediation has become increasingly popular over the past few years. This is because attorneys generally charge more for their services when one of the spouses decides to take the case to court. When both spouses agree to dissolve the marriage amicably, there is no need for a judge to be involved. This means that spouses don’t need to pay high legal fees and attorney costs, which can add up to thousands of dollars.
There are several advantages to divorce mediation. When both spouses can find an unbiased person to mediate, they are much more likely to be able to communicate about the issues and come up with a settlement agreement, if one is possible. Also, the mediator helps the divorcing spouses understand what is in writing in a divorce settlement agreement. Mediation can save money for both the divorcing parties. For example, in some states divorce mediation can lead to lower court costs, because each party doesn’t have to hire their own attorney and the mediator is free to help with legal advice.
In some cases, both spouses decide to use divorce mediation as a way to resolve their differences without going to court. If a judge is not involved, the divorcing couple and their attorneys will have to determine a schedule for the divorce mediation process. Sometimes a judge will require the spouses to attend mediation sessions as long as they want, but other times they will only request that the parties attend mediation if the judge does request participation.
One of the most important things to remember about divorce mediation is that the mediator’s job is to assist the divorcing couple in finding an agreement about the terms of the divorce process. The mediator cannot make a decision for the couple or have any authority or influence over the couple. The mediator has no opinion or belief about whether the marriage should be terminated or not. The mediator can offer support during the divorce process and can advise the divorcing spouses about important aspects of the divorce process, such as child custody, spousal support and alimony. However, the mediator has no authority or ability to impose any terms on the couple or determine what those terms should be. The court does not have to allow the mediator to set the terms of the divorce proceeding.
Because divorce mediation often occurs after a lengthy and contentious litigation process, the divorcing spouses might be better served to use the services of an attorney. Attorneys are familiar with the workings of the court system and can represent their clients effectively in court. Because of this, many attorneys choose to only represent their clients through divorce mediation and leave the negotiating process to professionals. Some attorneys choose to retain just one divorce mediator to perform both tasks; however, in most cases one attorney will be responsible for conducting the divorce mediation and the same mediators will also be responsible for scheduling appointments with the opposing parties’ attorneys.
Another important thing to remember about divorce mediation is that each spouse must be properly represented in the process. Mediation does not provide a “smooth transition” from one spouse to another, once a divorce has been finalized. It is recommended that once a spouse has decided to pursue a divorce settlement through mediation, they are represented by an attorney who has the experience in divorce law. Attorneys know the ins and outs of the divorce process and can provide information regarding how to best represent their client through the legal process.