Peaceful divorce mediation may alleviate battles over everything from child custody to property division. Impartial mediators help to defuse conflicts between squabbling spouses for a more peaceful divorce that's less stressful for the entire family.
Mediation Step by Step
Although the process takes much less time than litigation, mediation is not an instant or one-shot fix. The good news is that it's a relatively simple procedure when both divorce parties are willing to cooperate and take the necessary steps. The sections below offer a condensed outline of how typical divorce negotiations may occur with the help of a qualified mediator. It's important to note that each mediator has his own way of conducting the procedure, which he should disclose to both parties during the first session.
The first session gives both parties a neutral platform to discuss why they're seeking peaceful divorce mediation. This session also allows the mediator to provide details about both the process and the expectations. Guidelines, ground rules and basic information exchanges will also occur at this time.
A series of both joint and private sessions take place in which the mediator helps the couple identify the issues related to their divorce as well as effective solutions. During the joint sessions, the mediator promotes a peaceful environment so that both parties are free to express their needs, concerns and ideas. The mediator will also request financial disclosure and documentation during these first few joint sessions. Private sessions give each spouse a safe opportunity to discuss emotional elements, domestic abuse issues or any other type of sensitive information pertinent to the divorce. The information revealed at these sessions remains completely confidential.
After the mediator has reviewed the divorce estate documentation, she will guide the couple through making financial agreements. This includes distributing assets and joint financial property as well as deciding who will assume responsibility for each liability. Division of personal property and alimony or palimony discussions may also take place.
This step typically involves child-related matters such as custody, visitation, support and scheduling. It's a good idea to go ahead and resolve any conflicts during this session in order to establish a clear and concise parenting plan to which both parties agree. Discussion topics include custody type (sole, joint, legal and physical), travel restrictions, holiday and vacation agreements, changes of residences and healthcare.
Now that the issues are resolved and precise agreements made, the mediator provides each spouse with an agreement draft. If the draft is acceptable, each party may either show it to his or her attorney or submit it for the divorce court's approval. In most cases, this initial agreement draft becomes the final divorce judgment.
Benefits of Mediation
- This approach helps spare both the divorcing parties and their children the pain of a lengthy courtroom battle.
- A mediated divorce helps reduce many legal fees and other expenses and avoids court-associated delays in the procedure.
- Unlike divorce court, mediation is confidential, which means avoiding public disposure of personal issues.
- Negotiating divorce terms through a mediator keeps the decisions within the family while providing resolution of all conflicts.
The prevailing question associated with peaceful divorce mediation is: Does it work? In almost every case, mediation works more effectively than divorce in a courtroom setting. For a more thorough explanation of mediated divorces, check out the resources at Divorce Source and LovetoKnow's divorce counseling topics.