When mediation is suitable for your situation, there are many benefits to choosing this forum. Settling disputes through mediation saves money and time and generally leaves the parties in a better state of mind.
Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that people can use instead of going to court in front of a judge. This process utilizes a third party, a mediator, to help two parties agree on the divorce, child custody, and other legal matters.
Divorce mediation is typically split into 5 steps. While this is the general order of mediation, the steps are often moved around depending on the needs of each case. In addition, steps are sometimes repeated if new information arises or a spouse changes their objective.
5 Steps of Divorce Mediation
- Introductory meeting – All parties will meet together. The mediator will introduce himself, explain their role, and ensure he is a neutral party whose goal is to help both parties reach a fair and just resolution. The mediator will then give a general statement concerning what he sees as the issues, outline the process, and discuss protocol.
- State the Issues – Following the introduction, the mediator will allow each party to explain the issues and tell their side of the story. It’s essential that the party not speaking remain silent. It is, after all, the point of choosing mediation so that the parties can reach a reasonable agreement. When parties begin bickering or arguing, the basis of mediation is lost.
- Gathering Information – The mediator will request a form detailing the evidence, facts, and other pertinent information that may help the mediator reach a conclusion. The mediator will then ask questions to understand further the fiscal and emotional reasons behind the parties’ decisions.
- Framing stage – The mediator will discuss what he feels is the heart of the matter and help the couple explore all options and find innovative ways to resolve their differences. Some couples prefer to conduct the framing stage in separate sessions to better prepare for the next step – negotiation.
- Negotiating – Once the issues have been determined, the negotiating process can begin. The mediator has several options, but he might put together a proposed settlement and let the parties amend it until they come to a reasonable solution. Or the mediator will meet with each party individually to decide on negotiations. The meetings are confidential and provide an environment, away from the other party, to think about things and freely discuss emotions and fears.
If you want to resolve your divorce without going to court, mediation may be right for you and your partner. Mediation is appropriate at any stage of a dispute and doesn’t require an underlying legal case. When used early in a dispute, mediation can help reduce conflict and keeps costs from escalating.
Questions About Divorce Mediation
One mediation session is generally scheduled to last three hours. While both parties need to be prepared to spend three total hours there, the session may not last that long. Sometimes issues can be resolved in a single session; occasionally, additional sessions are needed.
If you want to use mediation for your divorce, contact The Betz Law Firm. We will answer your questions and help determine if mediation suits your situation.
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