Frequently Asked Questions
As divorce mediation starts to become a more popular route for couples, many common questions tend to arise about the process. To clarify, divorce mediation is a voluntary process whereby the mediator facilitates respectful separation of a couple’s marriage by helping both parties reach agreement about issues in a collaborative, consensual, and informed manner. Below you’ll find addition answers to common divorce mediation questions.
Why choose divorce mediation?
The realization of a divorce affects everyone differently; sometimes bringing on both physical and emotional problems. Couples choose mediation because it is the beginning of the healing process; one that is less stressful and avoids excessive costs often associated in a divorce trial. Prolonged divorce trials may deplete assets; interrupt business and any chances for personal growth.
Mediation offers the setting and support for each spouse to retain control of their decisions by speaking directly to each other unlike that in court where a conversation between the couple is not possible. Couples have stated they feel proud about the outcome; never betraying the issues, their values or their family.
What does a divorce mediator do?
A divorce mediator functions as a neutral third party to assist couples in resolving their issues so they may end their marriage as peacefully and cost-effective as possible. These issues include but are not limited to distribution of property, child custody and child support, retirement and more.
A good mediator will look out for the couple’s best interests as well as for the entire family. The mediator’s objective is to facilitate good communication between the couple so they remain focused on the issues in order for both parties to reach agreement and plan for the futute.
In addition, the mediator may provide any divorce support for the couple including how to speak to the children about divorce or suggest a coach to help the couple start a new life once the divorce is finalized.
What are the steps involved in divorce mediation?
Although each mediator follows a different approach, there are six basic steps to divorce mediation: 1) introductions 2) the couple’s statement of the problem(s) 3) gathering information 4) identifying the problem(s) 5) Considering all options 6) finalizing an agreement.
For more information on the steps involved in the divorce mediation process, please see our blog post on “What Are The Divorce Mediation Steps“.
What are the benefits of divorce mediation?
There are many benefits of divorce mediation. The most proclaimed benefits are the cost-savings and the positive effects on children in the long run. Divorce mediation is generally 40% to 60% less than divorce litigation.
For more benefits of divorce mediation, please read our blog post “What Are The Benefits of Divorce Mediation“.
Will our agreement be enforceable?
Yes, the agreement becomes enforceable once both parties sign it. In addition, another divorce judgment will be written based on the agreement and filed with the court, and is just as enforceable.
Will I have to appear in court?
No, neither party is required to appear in court for mediation.
Will I need an attorney?
As more divorced couples engage in mediation, they may want to consult an attorney to learn more about their legal rights during this process. The attorney (acting as a legal advisor or law coach) will discuss the option of mediation with both spouses and help in selecting a mediator.
Acting as a law coach, the attorney will help the couple answer questions and assist in negotiations. The attorney will also aid in preparing solutions to the issues. The attorney can predict any legal outcomes and the expense if the couple selects divorce litigation.
The attorney can review the legal agreement settled by the couple, and see that it will be legally binding once signed. Once the settlement agreement is signed by both parties, the attorney will file all necessary documents with the court for an uncontested divorce.
Is divorce mediation the same as couples therapy?
Divorce mediation and couples therapy are similar in the methods used by the mediator and counselor or therapist. Both processes enable couples to better communicate with each other, achieve a better understanding of what each spouse desires, and for each one to express any needs that have gone unspoken in the past years.
What is the difference between the two techniques? Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy. The therapist helps each spouse recognize and resolve any conflicts to rebuild their relationship so as to save the marriage, and if not possible; each party will go their separate ways. In mediation, couples learn to remain focused on the issues in order to reach an agreement to dissolve the marriage, and establish a new post-divorce relationship.
My spouse doesn’t compromise for anyone, divorce mediation won’t work.
This statement is a common myth according to most mediators. Mediation will work for nearly every couple despite the bitterness or emotional trauma that one spouse displays. A majority of mediators say that the most bitter couples will reap the benefits from this process. Couples face enormous financial and emotional costs in a litigated divorce; fighting over every issue in order to reach a settlement.
In addition, these couples do not possess sound communication skills. In mediation, each spouse learns to talk to one another; to communicate more effectively. An agreement is reached that is in the best interest of the parties and their family. When using the mediation process, they feel a sense of fairness and cooperation. This will help in ridding any emotional or personal problems.
Is it too expensive to use both a divorce mediator and a lawyer?
No. More couples are employing attorneys to assist them in legal matters in divorce mediation. Most lawyers charge a reasonable hourly fee for their services with no large retainer (advance deposit) required. Each party pays for only as much consulting time as is needed. Lawyers inform the couples of their legal rights and options, assist them in the negotiations, and prepare all the necessary divorce paperwork once the agreement is signed.