A divorce is one of life's most stressful events. This is true even if both parties agree that divorce is in their best interest. The stress is compounded when one person does not want the divorce or there are minor children involved. Life-changing decisions have to be made about dividing assets, child and spousal support as well as child custody and visitation.
The process is often adversarial and contentious. To minimize acrimony and stress, many attorneys are now encouraging their divorcing clients to participate in mediation, a process designed to help the spouses directly resolve their issues between themselves without turning the decision making process over to the family law court. If the couple is able to do this, I will prepare all of the documents necessary to obtain your divorce and file them with the court. The Judgment then becomes the court’s final order and a legally binding agreement.
The couple selects a neutral mediator. They then meet with the mediator, either with or without a lawyer or attorney present, to negotiate resolutions to their issues.
Mediators guide the parties and assist them in coming to their own resolution of each issue. Mediators are not advocates for either party, but may make suggestions and facilitate discussions. They point out pros and cons of various possible decisions but do not show partiality for any particular resolution.
Mediation discussions are confidential. If the process is not successful and the parties end up going to court, the mediator may not be called as a witness. There are very few exceptions to this, such as if there had been evidence of domestic violence or child abuse. The couple is more likely to comply with the terms of the agreement since they themselves are the ones who negotiated it, openly expressing their stated interests and goals.
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