Divorce is never easy. It has taken a long time for you to
make the decision to split up. And even if you and your spouse are still on
“good terms,” you’ll encounter problems when you attempt to work out the details
of your separation. Rarely is there equal bargaining power in a marriage. Plus,
it is very difficult to make rational decisions when emotions are running high.
Few situations are as emotionally charged as the end of a relationship.
Mediation is a voluntary settlement process that allows
you to control your own destiny rather than leaving your fate to a judge who
knows nothing about you or your spouse. You need never to step foot into a
courtroom, as all discussions are held in the safety and comfort of the
mediator’s office. Because of this, mediation is far less costly in both
economic and emotional terms. Couples can save up to 90% over a traditional
courtroom battle by using the mediation process.
How it Works
Divorce Mediation is a step-by-step process through which
separating couples arrive at a fair agreement which is acceptable to both
parties. It is conducted under the guidance of a trained professional who helps
the couple make their own important decisions concerning their changing and
uncertain future. The mediator need not be a lawyer. A psychologist with some
knowledge of divorce law can be quite effective in dealing with a couple going
through a breakup of their marriage.
The mediator helps you identify the points upon which you
already agree and works from there, with cooperative problem solving, on the
issues which are not so easily disposed of. Some examples of typical questions
that come up during the process are:
Who will the children live with?
How much visitation will the non-residential parent enjoy?
How much support will be paid?
What does support cover?
Who gets to stay in the house?
How will I get my money from the property we own?
How will our investments be divided?
Do I have to share my retirement plan?
Who will pay the credit card debt?
What about health insurance?
Will the kids get to go to college?
A skilled and experienced mediator is able to create a
safe and cooperative environment which encourages open and honest discussion.
The mediator’s role is an impartial one, identifying issues exploring underlying
interests, suggesting options and balancing power.
The mediator is neutral, does not represent either party
and does not make decisions. Mediators are trained to listen and help both
parties stay focused on the task at hand. There is no need to bring “dirty
laundry” into the room or the discussions. Mediators encourage the couple to
search for a solution to their unique problems and support them once a decision
The mediation process culminates (usually after an average
of five sessions) in the preparation of a Marital Settlement Agreement which
details the specifics of your mutually agreed upon decisions. This agreement is
the basis of the divorce decree.
A Final Note
It is important to understand that mediation is not the
arena for deciding whether or not to separate or divorce. That should be done in
the office of a mental health professional. However, once the decision is
reached, mediation can help the separating couple and their children avoid
unnecessary scars and return much sooner to the business of living.