Mediation is a tool used in divorce more and more. The reasons are plentiful: it is generally less expensive; it is generally faster, and couples often stick to agreements more they create, rather than ones that are forced by a court.
What exactly is mediation and how can an attorney be an effective mediator?
What is mediation?
Rather than go through the adversarial process of court, both parties meet with a mediator who is an impartial arbitrator. The mediator is skilled in listening to the concerns of both parties.
The first meeting is an opportunity for the mediator to assess what concerns a couple has. For example, he can answer questions regarding retirement funds, joint property, non-marital assets and custody. In some instances, a couple may have already made decisions, or may have had a pre-nuptial agreement and the mediator is then free to focus time only on the remaining issues.
Why is an attorney a better mediator?
Unlike other mediators, lawyers have training and experience in law and their ancillary requirements. If a couple agrees to something that does not meet legal requirements, a judge will send it back for a re-write or create a court order of his own.
Using an attorney to mediate assures a couple legal guidance. Each divorce is unique to each couple, and a skilled mediator drafts an agreement that fits your specific situation. In the end, mediated agreements offer a couple more freedom to craft their new normal as they proceed with their lives.