What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process that allows couples to reduce conflict and reach workable agreements without going to court.
During divorce mediation, a neutral mediator helps the parties clarify their objectives and priorities and reach a mutually beneficial agreement. The mediator does not provide legal advice but rather guides both parties through the process so that they can make their own decisions and find solutions that work for both of them.
For mediation to be successful, both parties must be willing to participate and negotiate in good faith.
What issues can be resolved?
Mediation is an effective and amicable approach to resolving a wide range of family law issues, including:
- Legal separation
- Child custody and parenting time
- Child support
- Spousal maintenance (alimony)
- Division of property
- Modification of prior agreements and orders (e.g. child custody, child support)
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
The benefits of mediation
Mediation offers a number of benefits, not the least of which is that it avoids the drama of a lengthy court battle. Because there are no court appearances and fewer court filings are required, mediation is quicker and more cost-effective than a litigated divorce. All communications and information exchanged during the mediation process remain confidential, unlike a court proceeding which is a matter of public record.
In cases that involve minor children, mediation allows the parties to reach an agreement about custody and parenting time, which can ensure healthy co-parenting and mitigate the emotional harm to children after a divorce.
Ultimately, mediation is designed to produce an agreement that works for both parties and their children.
How does the mediation process work?
During mediation, the parties and the mediator participate in a series of meetings. At the first meeting, the parties discuss options, assess their marital assets, and determine what information must be shared (e.g. financial details, appraisals). In cases that involve minor children, custody, decision-making, and parenting time will also be discussed. From there, the mediator will help the parties to find areas of compromise and reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Because the mediator cannot offer legal advice and attorneys do not participate in the process, we recommend that clients consult with an attorney prior to and during the process. An attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations, answer your legal questions, review the agreement, and make recommendations for changes before it is finalized. Although mediation avoids court intervention, the agreement must be approved by the court before a divorce will be granted.
Is mediation right for me?
The mediation process is entirely voluntary – which means that both parties must agree to participate. It works best when both spouses are able to advocate for themselves and there is not a significant imbalance of power or knowledge about your financial circumstances.
If you are able to communicate openly about your needs and willing to be flexible, mediation can help you and your spouse to reach mutually agreeable solutions. If you are not comfortable advocating for yourself without an attorney at your side, another option for you may be a collaborative divorce.
If you are not sure if meditation is the best option for you, please call us to learn more.
Why choose us?
We have extensive experience mediating divorce and family law cases. Our peers frequently ask us to mediate family law cases on their behalf. While we cannot provide legal advice when acting as mediators, we bring a wealth of experience handling divorce matters and we are in a position to provide a helpful neutral perspective.
In addition to acting as a mediator, we are often engaged to consult with parties who have already retained a mediator to resolve their divorce. Other mediators trust us to help facilitate an amicable resolution while ensuring that our consulting clients’ rights are protected.
Contact Our Mediation Attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco today
Whether you are considering starting mediation or you are already involved in the process, our family law attorneys can help you make informed decisions about your future and your family. We look forward to speaking with you. Contact us now to speak with an attorney.