Mediation provides a neutral environment where parents can come together to gain understanding and learn to resolve conflicts in a more positive manner.
"People want to be heard and understood in the divorce process."* A mediator is trained to acknowledge feelings, but encourages clients to not allow feelings to control the decision-making process. A mediator will help focus on the positive, assessing whatever goodwill may remain between the divorced parents, and will encourage the ability to improve future contacts between them. A trained mediator will help recognize and teach clients to avoid language that triggers anger and resentment and will help the clients develop healthy dialogue patterns.
The couple choosing mediation can have greater control in the divorce process. The pace, slow or swift, can be determined in large part by the clients. Many people who have been through mediation feel that the process helps give them closure and helps the individuals move forward without the additional pain and anger that comes from a court battle.
There are different styles of mediation. Clients can be in different rooms with the mediator moving back and forth between the two rooms. This is called "Caucus" style. If both clients prefer, we can all be in the same room to reach agreements. The mediator is neutral and cannot give advice to either client.
Mediation is a confidential process. What happens in a mediation session cannot be testified to in court by the mediator. Papers created in a mediation settlement are confidential and not to be revealed in court.
As a non-attorney mediator, I can help you to:
It is my strong recommendation that you involve an attorney to file a mediated Settlement Agreement to finalize a divorce or other legal settlement. I cannot give legal advice to either client. As a mediator, I can help clients reach an agreement. Only an attorney is qualified to render legal advice. During mediation, you may call an attorney for advice. If both parents agree to it, they may have attorneys at the mediation. I don't allow one client to have an attorney if the other one doesn't, but do allow a client to take a break and call an attorney for consultation on an issue while we work on the parenting plan.
- Create a parenting plan for a divorce or separation. You can then take the Mediated Settlement Agreement to an attorney to review and/or file with the court.
- Resolve differences in an existing parenting schedule that is not currently working well for your restructured family.
- Reach a non-binding agreement on how to parent your children. This would not involve having a Mediated Settlement Agreement - but would be a more informal agreement between the parents.
For more specific questions, contact me.
To locate an attorney, check out:
Each of these organizations has attorneys as members who will help you determine how to work outside of court to settle and file your agreements reached in mediation.
*W.A. Eddy, LCSW, Esq., Self Help Magazine, May 30, 1998.
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