You and your spouse may be on speaking terms – at best – or confrontational terms – at worst – as you begin the process leading to a separation agreement and divorce. You need to know whether the mediation process will actually work for you, and that is the purpose of this blog.
There are many benefits to mediation. Mediation works because you make decisions together, unlike the adversarial process where you each hire a lawyer to negotiate and argue for you. In mediation, you remain in control of the process, instead of taking the risk of fighting in a courtroom where a judge may make decisions neither of you wants. There are no court-imposed delays, no depositions, no stenographers, and no cross-examinations. In mediation, there is just you, your spouse, and the mediator.
The mediator is the key to this process, helping you make your own decisions by providing support, clarification, and a nonjudgmental atmosphere. In this setting, you and your spouse will explore your feelings about the issues to be resolved and you will make your own decisions. The mediator knows what decisions must be made and ensures that they are made in an orderly fashion. Arguments are minimized, and an atmosphere of cooperation is encouraged so that you can focus on your future lives and the best interests of your children.
The first blog posts will familiarize you with the private divorce mediation process. We clarify when mediation is appropriate and when it is not. We give you criteria for choosing a mediator, help you plan for the first meeting, anticipate your concerns, and describe the roles of lawyers, consultants, family, and friends.
If you are considering mediation it can very helpful to talk with a mediator to answer your particular questions. This blog is not written to replace legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice. Your particular situation may not apply what is written in the blog, it is possible the law has changed since the blog was written, and it is possible the blog has inaccurate information. This blog is for informational purposes, it is not legal advice that you should apply to your situation without first talking to a lawyer that specializes in mediation, or a person who is a licensed mediator. Attorney Kerry Rafanelli has decades of mediation experience and offers a free consultation for people who are considering using mediation for a family law issue.
This content is based on the “Divorce Mediation Answer Book” by Carol A. Butler and Dolores D. Walker, MSW., JD copyright 1999.