Mediation is a dispute resolution process by which the parties agree to settle their disputes with the assistance of a neutral advisor. Mediation is a confidential, flexible and purely voluntary process and either party can withdraw at any time. The mediator does not have the power to dictate a settlement but rather, uses skills to facilitate a meaningful discussion and open and free exchange of information between the parties fostering negotiation in a neutral and stable environment. Rather than the divisive impact of an adversarial litigation process, a mediator assists the parties in moving away from polarizing positions and identifying the issues most important to their family in order to assist them in making decisions that work best for their family.
In divorce mediation, the parties will share financial information and, with the assistance of the mediator, develop a plan for sharing assets and liabilities and a budget relating to ongoing support. When children are involved, the mediator will facilitate a discussion and settlement of issue relating to custody, parenting schedules and any other concerns relating to the children’s needs. The mediator identifies issues and fosters communication focusing on the needs and interests of the entire family while leaving the ultimate decision making in the hands of the parties.
Mediation is a powerful alternative to litigation for parties looking for a cost effective and amicable divorce process. The main advantage of mediation is it allows the parties, and not a judge, to be in control of their own divorce. The parties craft their own settlement through an open and honest exchange of information and productive discussions focusing on addressing the unique issues pertaining to their family. With the assistance of a trained mediator, the parties can incorporate creative solutions that work best for their family rather than follow a court imposed judgment. Because the result is a mutually agreeable settlement achieved by the parties that is uniquely tailored to their family, the parties are much more likely to honor the agreement, thus reducing the chances of post-divorce litigation.
Either party has the option of retaining an attorney but it is not necessary. Once an agreement is reached in mediation, at least one party needs to hire an attorney to prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement and finalize the divorce in court.
Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC offers mediation services by a family law attorney and trained mediator that is skilled in identifying the needs and interests of families going through the divorce process and fostering meaning communication leading to positive and lasting agreements.