How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
Both parties have to agree on who the divorce mediator will be. It is best to retain/hire a mediator that is an attorney who practices matrimonial and family law and is familiar with the then-current laws pertaining to the issues at hand. and one who is certified, having taken at least the 40-hour course for certification.
Once a mediator is chosen, the time and location are selected for the initial session. During the session, both parties have an opportunity to present their side. The mediator listens to both sides but does not make decisions. The mediator is there simply to guide the spouses to a resolution. During the process, the divorcing spouses can determine:
- The custody arrangements if any children are involved;
- Child support payments or alimony payments, amounts, and duration; and/or
- How all marital assets will be divided.
What is Divorce Litigation?
During the litigation process, the parties and the attorneys prepare a case to present before a judge. This may be to determine support, who gets what asset and who will have primary or legal custody of any minor children of the marriage. The attorneys may seek evidence against the other spouse that may include:
- The mental, physical and/or financial fitness of the other parent
- Allegations of physical and mental abuse
- The ability of the parent to provide a stable home for the children
- Assets and/or income that one spouse may have wanted to hide
- Each attorney may also subpoena witnesses to back up their claims against the other spouse.
After a trail, the judge will take some time to make his or her decision. The judge’s decision is final unless one of the parties files an appeal.
Why Choose Divorce Mediation over Litigation?
- Divorce mediation is confidential
- Divorce mediation is less costly than litigation. (An attorney will spend more hours on litigation that will be billed to the client. Additional court costs are also involved in litigation.)
- Divorce mediation takes less time than litigation. (The divorcing spouses can set the time and may resolve all of their issues in one meeting.)
- The divorce mediation process is less contentious and less stressful than a court battle.