What Happens in Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation generally consists of a series of one to two hour sessions conducted over a period of time. In some cases, a single extended session is used. The scheduling and duration of sessions may depend upon on the level of conflict and the number of issues parties choose to address. After each session, the mediator drafts a memorandum that memorializes accomplishments and focuses parties on the work yet to be done.
During a session the mediator facilitates open, fair and effective communication, negotiation and problems solving among the parties. He helps them generate and evaluate potential solutions. And he aids them in crafting agreements that best meet their unique needs and interests.
Throughout the process the mediator is neutral and does not take sides or represent any one point of view. He does not decide right from wrong, nor does he impose a settlement on the parties. All decisions and agreements are made by the parties themselves.
Over the course of the mediation, the mediator may provide information about the legal process of divorce. He does not, however, serve as an attorney or render legal advice. Parties often obtain some independent legal counsel before, during or after mediation.
A neutral mediator also does not serve as a counselor, therapist, tax accountant or financial advisor for the mediating parties. When parties require such services they are sought separately.
Upon reaching accord on all issues, the mediator will draft a memorandum of the parties’ agreements. This memorandum can serve as the basis for the final stipulation and order. The parties may bring this memorandum to their attorneys for review or to the family court for approval by a judge.
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