Understanding the Divorce Mediation Process
Most people already suffer from frustration, anger, anxiety and hurt as they enter the divorce process. In some cases, divorces enhance these emotions due to the adversarial nature of the court system. However, if you believe that you and your spouse can put aside the temptation to be confrontational, you may have the ability to have a more peaceful or amicable divorce through the mediation process.
Divorce mediation is a tool used within the divorce process by couples that are unable to make a successful compromise regarding large issues such as child custody, child support, alimony or the division of marital property and debts. Both spouses, their attorneys (if they wish) and a neutral third-party called a mediator will sit together in a non-confrontational setting to attempt to discuss solutions to these challenging issues. This collaborative effort often proves successful as all parties feel represented and heard.
Divorce Mediation Timeline
The following is a generalized timeline and guide to the divorce mediation process.
- Mediator Contact – Mediators will visit with both spouses and receive information regarding important marital documents, financial information and other significant pieces of evidence that will pertain to the mediation discussions.
- First Meeting – A first meeting will occur with all parties to go over the process and establish the guidelines for mediation.
- Starting Mediation – Both spouses can voice their opinions and concerns regarding points of disagreement and if possible, the mediator will support a conversation to reach some middle ground on the simpler issues in the matter.
- Determine Additional Areas of Negotiation – There will be areas of agreement and disagreement. A decision will be made by the parties regarding the additional areas of negotiation that are needed and if necessary, set up additional time to accomplish full negotiations.
- Further Negotiations -This is when the process truly begins. With smaller issues out of the way, more serious discussions can occur regarding high conflict points of disagreement. The negotiator will listen to all sides and look at all relevant documents. Oftentimes, a mediator can propose solutions that never occurred to either spouse. It is important to enter into these negotiations with a spirit of cooperation, in order to attempt to move through the process quickly and have everyone receive some portion of what they want.
- Final Agreement – Solutions regarding parenting plans, child custody matters, child support agreements and the division of property and debt can all be decided within the mediation process. Some recommendations will be made by the mediator, but the mediator does not have any authority under the law to make legal decisions on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you believe that you and your spouse can negotiate certain aspects of your divorce through an experienced mediator, the process will save you both time and money. Contact the experienced and compassionate Prince Frederick divorce attorneys serving southern Maryland at the offices at Meng Law at 410-449-1647 or online today to help you understand your legal rights and how the divorce mediation process may be beneficial in your case or to schedule your divorce mediation with one of our attorneys.