What is it?
Mediation is a respectful, private and creative way to resolve family disputes without court interference. Whether a couple is dissolving their marriage or ending a romantic relationship that may have resulted in children, mediation is most likely a far better alternative than litigation.
What isn’t it?
Divorce mediation isn’t therapy or marriage counseling. It’s not designed to preserve or reconcile marriages. Most people who go through divorce mediation end up divorced. (But studies show that most of the couples who successfully complete divorce mediation with a skilled mediator remain satisfied with their settlements and abide by them.)
How it works?
Divorce mediation involves a mediator serving as a go-between, consultant, advisor and facilitator to the two spouses, in helping them through the legal, parenting and financial issues of divorce. I will remain impartial and evenhanded in assisting a couple reach an informed and voluntary settlement. While I tailor my services to the needs of each divorcing couple, our mediation generally follows a seven step process:
- Make the No Court Pledge. The three of us sign a contract agreeing we’ll use our best efforts to resolve all divorce items without court interference.
- Create the professional team. Sometimes the divorcing couple chooses to get additional value by working with a neutral expert such as an appraiser, accountant or therapist, or with their own consulting attorney.
- Identify and prioritize interests. This will help both spouses remain productive and forward focused as we proceed through the mediation process.
- Gather information. The three of us craft and implement the plan for gathering the financial and other information.
- Brainstorm ideas. At this stage of mediation, all ideas are encouraged and have potential.
- Evaluate options. We’ll analyze which ideas best satisfy the couple’s interests and seem realistic in light of the facts.
- Finalize financial and parenting choices. I will draft an agreement to be submitted to the Superior Court for approval so that it will become the couple’s court order.
Are you the lawyer for both spouses?
- No. Although I’m a lawyer, when I’m working for a couple as their mediator, I don’t have an attorney client relationship with either spouse. This means that rather than giving either spouse legal advice, my job is to educate both spouses about the law and help them create divorce arrangements that meet their needs and which a court will approve.
- As a mediator, my communications with both spouses are not privileged or protected by the law. (Although I won’t voluntarily share information about the divorce with anyone other than the spouses unless both spouses ask me or I’m otherwise required to.)
- As a mediator, since I’m neutral, I won’t keep secrets between the spouses.
- As part of our contract, both spouses will agree that they won’t ask or require me by issuing a subpoena or summoning me to court, to disclose mediation discussions and communications.