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Divorce Blog

Divorce Mediation and What to Expect

By Karen Stewart

Couple with a Divorce MediatorMediation by definition is the attempt to bring about a peaceful resolution whereby the parties volunteer and use a neutral party to facilitate.

Why Use Divorce Mediation?

Mediation is chosen by divorcing couples who are motivated to avoid the emotional and financial costs of the traditional legal/lawyer-driven system. Divorce mediation is also for couples who just want to arrive at a peaceful settlement quickly.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

While many couples are looking to mediation, there is still a lack of understanding of what it is and how it can work to bring resolution. Historically, lawyers refer their clients to a “neutral” party or “mediator” who deal with one specific issue to resolve. More recently, couples are choosing mediation as a way to negotiate all issues while using lawyers to address specific legal issues. This methodology seems to achieve the best of both worlds. Couples can address the financial and parenting issues in a way that reduces time, cost and stress while ensuring some is representing their rights.

Couple at Divorce Mediation

The professional service of divorce mediation in itself is non-binding. Meaning, couples are free to discuss and debate issues, bringing in experts as needed, without the conversation and decisions being binding. This ensures a more open and honest dialogue. While most couples can still handle some interaction, caucus mediation is used when parties are best kept apart. Caucus mediation is when the parties negotiate separately. After mediation, the mediator ensures that all of the important decisions are captured. Then a memorandum of understanding is drafted. This memorandum is not a legal contract but does form the basis of the final contract the lawyers provide. This saves time and money.

Is Divorce Mediation the Best Choice?

In the past, mediation was used for one-off decisions. Today, we are seeing a more comprehensive approach, making mediation more comprehensive in nature.

Mediation is the best choice for most divorces. Clearly, the choice of which divorce mediator you use is important. For instance, the more complex the issues and conflict, the higher skill set the mediator will require.