Anyone contemplating a divorce is usually filled with dread about the emotional cost of the process. The anticipated cost rises if the couple has young children or significant assets. Over the last thirty years, mediation has emerged as a workable and far less stressful method of addressing and resolving these issues.
The basics of mediation
Two aspects of mediation make it a very useful tool in dissolving a marriage. The first aspect is the use of a neutral third party to hear each spouse’s concerns about the coming divorce. The second aspect is the fact that all decisions made in the mediation are the voluntary and joint decision of the spouses. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not have any power to irrevocably decide any issue.
The mediator’s role
The mediator’s principal role is to suggest alternative outcomes for the disputes between the parties. For example, the spouses may be at loggerheads about how to divide the family business. The mediator may be able to suggest various kinds of stock sales or the use of a trust to preserve the business’ asset value for both parties. The mediator may also be able to suggest various methods of preparing a parenting plan or resolving disputes about the contents of the plan.
Where do mediators come from?
Most mediators are lawyers who have practiced family law before becoming a certified mediator. Most mediators have received specialized training in mediation techniques in order to become a certified mediator. Some mediators are retired judges who have presided over divorce cases while they were on the bench.
Anyone who is interested in using mediation to resolve issues in a divorce should speak to an experienced divorce attorney about the mediation process. An experienced attorney can explain the process and assist in choosing a mediator.