You and your spouse have decided to undergo divorce mediation as a way of coming up with a divorce agreement that you can submit to the court for approval. This is great news, since there are plenty of benefits to mediation. Your agreement will be easier to stick to, since you had a hand in negotiating it, and you will save lots of time and money – since hiring an attorney to mediate your divorce for you costs a fraction of what it costs if you each hire an attorney to litigate. So what can you expect from your divorce mediation sessions?
The role of the mediator
When you sit down to establish your divorce agreement, you and your spouse will have to negotiate how to divide up your property and whether either of you will be paying spousal support to the other, and if so, how much and for how long. In addition, if you have children, you will have to decide who will have primary custody, and the visitation rights of the other.
That is a lot to negotiate, and emotions can be high. That is why it is helpful to have a trained divorce mediator present. Although a mediator is often an attorney, they do not represent either you or your spouse – in other words, they won’t be advocating for the interests of one party at the expense of the other.
Instead, your mediator is an impartial third party. Their job is to facilitate conversation and guide your negotiations. If things get heated or tensions rise, they will help you to de-escalate the situation and stay on track. They will also prevent one party from steamrolling the other, so that both parties have a chance to be heard and can present their wants and needs.
You can get representation
Just because the mediator is neutral doesn’t mean you have to handle your side of the negotiation on your own. If you want to, you can hire your own attorney to negotiate on your behalf. This situation is not uncommon.
Even if you and your spouse hire a mediator and then both hire your own attorneys in addition, mediation will still likely be less expensive than litigation. In most situations, it is the best way to end your marriage as amicably as possible while saving time and money.