What is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative to traditional divorce litigation that allows couples to come to a resolution of the issues without going to court. In mediation, a neutral party (the mediator) helps the couple identify the issues that need to be resolved and come to an agreement.
How Process Begins
Process may begin before pleadings are filed with the Court; pleadings are filed only after settlement is reached. Mediation may also be court-referred if the litigation has been initiated.
Timing of the process is controlled by the parties unless court-referred. Court events may continue to be scheduled, if court referred.
Involvement of Lawyers
Both spouses meet with one mediator to negotiate settlement; attorneys need not be present during mediation.
Spouses may or may not be represented during the mediation process; one spouse may engage an attorney after settlement reached to finalize divorce.
“Discovery” is informal and conducted in the process of mediation.
May involve court events or court orders.
The process discussion and negotiations details are kept private.
Mediation clients set the timeframe themselves and can move as slowly or as quickly as they wish to proceed.
However, the average timeframe from beginning to conclusion is approximately four to six months and is dependent on length of time between the sessions, ability of clients to discuss and agree as well as the time required to complete assignments for the next mediation session.
First Mediation Session:
Typically the session is Two hours in length.
1. Mediation question checklists previously distributed to clients is discussed.
A. Discuss Parenting Questionnaire
B.Discuss Timesharing. Questionnaire
C.Discuss what documents are needed for next session.
2. Discuss whether a divorce coach is needed to address timesharing and custody concerns.
3. Schedule next appointment.
Second Mediation Session:
1. Go over Support and Equitable Distribution Questionnaire.
2. Discuss settlement options.
3. Distribute budget forms to be completed prior to next session.
4. Schedule next session.
1. Review Budget Questionnaire.
2. Discuss and resolve support issues.
3. Resolve any other open issues.
Fourth Session – If Needed
Resolve any other open issues
Preparation of Memorandum of Understanding:
1. Prepare draft of the Agreement.
2. Circulate the Memorandum of Understanding to clients via e-mail for review and comments prior to final session.
1. Review Memorandum of Understanding and make any final changes.
Clients are advised to seek advice from a review attorney of their choice to discuss the options being explored in the Mediation session. As well as to review the Memorandum of Understanding.
Questions To Consider When Discussing Child Related Topics
1. WILL THERE BE A JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY ARRANGEMENT?
2. WHAT WILL THE PARENTING SCHEDULE BE FOR EACH PARENT?
C. OFF DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR
F. CHILDREN’S BIRTHDAYS
G. PARENT’S BIRTHDAYS
IF NECESSARY, SPECIFY:
A. WHAT TIME IS PICK-UP AND DROP OFF?
B. WHICH PARENT WILL TRANSPORT FOR PICK-UP AND DROP-OFF?
3. IF THERE IS AN EQUAL TIME SHARING ARRANGEMENT, WHICH PARENT WILL BE CONSIDERED THE PARENT OF PRIMARY RESIDENCE FOR SCHOOL-RELATED PURPOSES?
A. IF EQUAL TIMESHARING, WHAT IS THE DISTANCE A PARENT MAY MOVE FROM THE OTHER BEFORE THE PARENTING PLAN MUST BE REVIEWED.
B. HOW WILL YOU DECIDE WHAT EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES THE CHILDREN WILL BE INVOLVED IN?
C. HOW WILL YOU DECIDE WHAT SUMMER CAMP THE CHILDREN WILL ATTEND?
4. HOW WILL EMERGENT ISSUES RELATED TO THE CHILDREN BE HANDLED?
5. HOW WILL NON-EMERGENT MEDICAL ISSUES BE ADDRESSED?
6. IF THERE IS WORK-RELATED DAYCARE, DOES THE DAYCARE PROVIDER HAVE TO BE AGREED UPON?
7. WHO WILL PAY THE DAYCARE PROVIDER? HOW WILL THE OTHER PARENT BE REIMBURSED?
8. WILL THE CHILDREN CALL THE OTHER PARENT WHEN NOT WITH THEM?
A. HOW OFTEN?
B. WILL IT BE A SPECIFIC TIME OF DAY?
C. WHO WILL PAY FOR THE CHILDREN’S CELL PHONES?
9. IF CHILDREN ARE OLDER, WHO WILL PAY FOR THEIR CAR, CAR REPAIRS, CAR INSURANCE?
The Next Step
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