Divorce mediation is a neutral process where a divorcing couple discusses, resolves, and plans their future in a respectful, non-combative manner. Because the divorce mediator is a neutral party and does not represent either spouse, the process ensures that each spouse is heard, recognized, and assured throughout the process that his and her needs are being addressed.
In the divorce mediation process, you will discuss several issues that impact the dissolution of the marriage. The most common discussions are getting to an agreement about:
- The distribution of assets
- The distribution and/or repayment of debts
- Custody of minor children and/or co-parenting schedules
- Education planning (for children)
- Retirement planning
While surely not an exhaustive list, the above list provides a framework from which most discussions are based. As the needs of every family are unique, the circumstances, nuances, and requirements will largely depend on wants, needs, goals, and expectations. That’s precisely why these conversations are managed through the divorce mediator. Divorce mediation gives a divorcing couple the opportunity to share openly what’s most important to each other and how to dissolve the marriage as amicably as possible, for the benefit of everyone who is impacted by the impending divorce.
In general, the divorce mediator helps the divorcing couple work through the specifics of various agreements that are pertinent to the dissolution of the marriage. Typically, the divorce mediator steps in when the process of reaching an agreement on one or more issues becomes stressful and does not progress favorably. The divorce mediator focuses on maintaining civility through open communication and keeping the dialog flow positive and forward. This is especially helpful when bad memories and experiences are brought up and shift the conversations toward anger, hurt feelings, distress, and bad language.
Divorce mediation is a traditional method for settling conflicts. A method of which many divorcing couples are familiar, but mediation doesn’t typically include the full scope of what’s involved when a divorcing couple has unique circumstances to consider. Additionally, divorce mediation is a process that continues as long as there are agreements to be made. Sometimes, what can happen is that agreements are made and needs shift, causing the process to become circuitous for some divorcing couples. That can be frustrating for a divorcing couple and might feel like a setback.
To address the issues that can arise through the mediation process, a method called collaborative divorce was developed. With the collaborative divorce method, instead of a mediator, both you and your spouse have an attorney who is committed to the collaborative method and you build a “Collaborative Divorce Team” which includes psychological, financial and taxation professionals. Your children will have a voice through a psychological professional who specializes in helping children manage life changes.
To explore the benefits of both divorce mediation and collaborative divorce and decide which method will help you and your spouse chose an option that makes sense for your unique circumstances, call or send us an email to schedule an initial consult.