The following was originally posted on Patch.com by Alan E. Freed as part of a weekly series written by the attorneys of Paule, Camazine and Blumenthal, P.C. called From the Lawyer’s Desk. If you have any areas of the law that you would like discussed as part of that series, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Divorce mediation allows you and your spouse to stay in charge of the outcome of your case by meeting face-to-face and negotiating the terms of your divorce with the help of a trained mediator. The mediator doesn’t replace your lawyers; rather, the mediator will help you in four important ways:
- Educate you about the issues you need to deal with in your divorce;
- Help you gather the information you need to make decisions about your case;
- Work with you to develop creative options for settling your case;
- Put your agreements in writing in documents that you can file in the court.
Most important, the mediator helps you and your spouse discuss the difficult issues–caring for your children, division of property, maintenance (alimony), and division of property–in a productive way and in a safe environment. A good mediator will make certain both the husband and the wife get heard.
The mediator is not a judge or arbitrator. In other words, the mediator does not make decisions for you. You are always in charge because you have the power to say no to any resolution that you are not happy with.
Typically, couples meet with the mediator in sessions of one and a half to two hours each–a total of anywhere from three to six sessions is common, but your case could take longer if the issues are complex or if you don’t come to the mediation sessions prepared.
It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer before completing the mediation process. Since the mediator can’t give you legal advice, you’ll want to make sure that the agreements you are considering are truly in your, and your children’s best interests.