Divorce mediation is a technique for resolving differences between spouses. It has grown in popularity over the years. In fact, your judge might send you to mediation to try and reduce the number of issues in dispute. At Alliance Law Group, we have sat beside many clients in mediation. Contact us if you have any questions.
Can I Have an Attorney Present with Me?
Yes. A lawyer is a good asset to have in mediation. The lawyer’s role isn’t to “argue” your case. That’s not what mediation is about. But your lawyer can help you understand whether a proposed compromise is a good deal for you. As an example, your spouse might suggest that you get the house and they keep a retirement account. This might be a good deal for you—or not. Let a lawyer help you analyze all relevant considerations.
A lawyer can also:
- Help pick a mediator
- Advise you of what might happen if you go to trial
- Suggest counteroffers to make in mediation
- Advise you when to terminate the process
Who Decides Which Side is Right in Mediation?
No one. This isn’t a trial. The mediator helps each side listen to each other and consider ways to resolve a dispute. But that’s all a mediator does: make suggestions. The mediator isn’t a judge.
What is Caucusing?
This is a strategy many mediators use to provide a final “push” to get past logjams. You and your spouse go to different rooms and the mediator moves back and forth, talking to you individually. Caucusing allows the mediator to speak freely about how he or she thinks the mediation is going. For example, your mediator might tell you that your spouse is close to reaching an agreement and then suggest ways to get to the finish line.
Why Should I Try to Mediate a Dispute?
There are many advantages. For one, you don’t know what will happen if you go to trial. The judge might award your spouse sole custody or an unequal division of marital assets. With mediation, you control what you receive as you exit the marriage.
Are There Issues We Can’t Mediate?
There are some issues. Child support is the big one. Your children have a right to child support which you can’t waive. However, you might still mediate some issues related to child support, such as whether either parent will financially support their children in college. You should review with your attorney issues that are “off limits” in mediation. All you will do is waste time if you try to mediate them.
What is a Settlement Agreement?
If you find common ground with your spouse, you can jointly draft and sign a settlement agreement. This is basically a contract between the two of you. You would then submit it to a judge for approval so that it is incorporated into your divorce decree.
Can We Mediate Some Issues But Not Others?
It’s possible. You might find common ground on alimony and the division of assets/debts but not custody. Any agreement can speed up the divorce process. All unresolved issues get litigated in court with the judge deciding them.
We Can Help
Our divorce lawyers are intimately familiar with mediation and can guide you through the process. Call us to learn more in a consultation.