Divorce Mediation: What You Should Expect

Divorce MediationEnding your marriage by a do it yourself divorce doesn’t necessarily mean you part ways without conflict. It simply means that you’ve found another way of handling the conflict that doesn’t require costly attorney’s fees or bitter disputes and hostilities that can go on for years.

If you do feel conflict and still want to file for divorce, the most common workaround is divorce mediation. By enlisting the help of a trained mediator, calmer heads can prevail. But to give you a better idea of what to expect from your mediation, here’s what others have had to say:

The Process

According to Casey DuBose, legal professional at Goldberg Jones, the process for mediation is simple enough.

“You'll pick a mediator who is usually an ex-judge,” DuBose explained. “During the mediation, you both present your evidence, requests, and demands. You will usually present all this information to the mediator without the other party. The mediator will review it and present a compromise plan to the both of you. You can either accept it or continue with counter-offers. At the end of the day, there will be a legal settlement agreement that puts the final plan down on paper to settle the divorce.”

Mediator Stephanie Vardavas agreed with most aspects of the process, but added that mediators are not always ex-judges. They can also come from the legal and counseling professions. She did confirm that most mediation happens while the parties are in separate locations. However:

“If all goes well, and an apparent agreement is reached, the mediator brings the parties together at the end of the day and reads her summary of the terms of the agreement to both sides for confirmation,” Vardavas said. “At this point it is typical for each side to offer some clarification and/or refinement of the terms. Once it is clear that there is an agreement, the parties' counsel write it up on the spot and the parties sign it. It is fully enforceable in court, and in the case of commercial mediations (i.e. outside the realm of family law), in some states a mediation agreement has the status not merely of a contract, but of a judgment instead. This can greatly simplify the task of enforcing it.”

Is Mediation For You? 

To this question, California-based family law attorney Matthew Breddan explains that mediation “will only work if you both want to resolve the matter and have an open mind.”

It’s also for individuals, who don’t have much time or money to work through a divorce proceeding, and for couples with children who prefer to not place any additional strain on their little ones.

In other words, if you both want the same thing out of the divorce and believe there are different ways of having your demands met, you’re a good candidate for mediation and DIY divorce in general.

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