Role of a Private Divorce Mediator  vs Court Appointed Mediator

Divorce is an intense decision as it is completely life-altering for you and your spouse. The idea of getting divorced, arriving at the decision, and getting through the legal process of divorce can be the most emotionally exhaustive stages of your life. It is likely that while dealing with so much that is going on, you tend to find a back in the face of someone you can count on. Intervention of someone from family, friends or other acquaintances may not be the ideal choice at this point in time. This is because anything that comes from family or friends is very unlikely to be neutral. Remember, it is never about getting a divorce or not, but about taking the right decision. To ease the complex matter, there are dedicated experts who can help a couple in every way. These experts are Divorce Mediators.

Who is a Divorce Mediator?

A Divorce Mediator is a neutral third-party who facilitates communication and negotiation between divorcing couples to help them reach agreements on various aspects of their divorce. Hiring a Divorce Mediator is voluntary for a couple. A mediator does not make any decisions but guides them towards finding mutually acceptable solutions.

Roles of a Divorce Mediator

A couple can choose to see a Divorce Mediator in different stages of the divorce process. The following are the roles of a Divorce Mediator depending on the stage of divorce at which he is appointed:

When opted voluntarily before entering into the legal procedure

  • Encouraging communication between the spouses

One of the primary roles of a Divorce Mediator at this stage is to encourage open and constructive communication between the spouses. The mediator creates a safe and controlled environment where each party can express their concerns, feelings, and desires. Through active listening and skilled communication techniques, the mediator helps facilitate a productive dialogue that allows the couple to work together towards resolving their issues.

  • Facilitating decision-making

A Divorce Mediator can assist a couple in arriving at a right decision by fostering a cooperative atmosphere. Through collaborative problem-solving, the mediator helps the couple reach an agreement that is acceptable to both the parties

  • Reducing stress between the parties

Divorce is inherently stressful, and a traditional approach can further exacerbate this stress, leading to increased emotional turmoil. However, a Divorce Mediator is committed to reducing stress and tensions between the parties. By promoting a less combative and more constructive process, the mediator helps create a conducive environment for resolving conflicts.

  • Tailoring solutions for extreme situations

Every divorce case is unique, and some situations may be particularly challenging and require specialized approaches. A Divorce Mediator is a skilled person who can address such extreme circumstances, while protecting the interests of all the parties involved and ensuring a fair and just resolution.

  • Providing clear perspective of the divorce process

As divorce laws vary from state to state, a Divorce Mediator provides the couple a clear perspective of the divorce process in their state. They explain the legal requirements, the steps involved, and the potential outcomes. This also helps the couple get a realistic view of the near future.

After being suggested by the judge during the legal procedure

In many divorce cases, judges may suggest or even mandate mediation as a means to resolve disputes before resorting to a court trial. Mediation offers the couple an opportunity to find common ground and reach agreements on their own terms, rather than having a judge impose decisions upon them. This approach is often preferred because it promotes a more cooperative environment.

Mediation can be a part of litigation. Mediation that is part of litigation can be a very different experience from private mediation. Court appointed mediation is usually ONE session, or booked hourly as needed. Both parties do not normally have time to get the meet the mediator ahead of time and the mediator does not have the opportunity to get to know the parties or the case in depth.

  • Allowing the parties to express their situation

During the mediation sessions, both parties are given the opportunity to make a short statement about their situation. This serves as an essential aspect of the process, as it allows each spouse to express their emotions, concerns, and desires in a controlled and respectful environment. The mediator ensures that both parties have an equal chance to speak without interruptions, creating an atmosphere of active listening and understanding.

  • Managing housekeeping issues and setting agenda

As the mediation process begins, the mediator takes the responsibility of managing housekeeping issues to ensure an organized proceeding. These housekeeping matters may include setting the schedule for sessions, establishing ground rules for communication among others. The mediator also sets the agenda for the sessions. The agenda consists of a clear roadmap and also acts as a fulfillment of the court of law in such cases.

  • Preparing a comprehensive divorce settlement agreement

The Divorce Mediator prepares an agreement stating that the settlement agreement is clear and aligned with the couple’s decisions. The agreement is then presented to the court along with necessary paperwork.

For settlement of other issues that arise during divorce
  • Settling co-parenting and custody issues

One of the most sensitive and vital aspects of a divorce is its effect on the children involved. By considering the best interests of the children and the parents, the mediator assists in reaching an agreement that serves the children’s well-being while respecting the rights and responsibilities of both parents. Once the agreement is reached, the mediator helps turn them into legally binding agreements.

  • Assisting decision on division of property and other assets

With the goal of achieving an equitable distribution of assets that acknowledges both the parties’ contributions and future financial needs, the Divorce Mediator assists the couple in approaching this process objectively. By encouraging transparent face-to-face discussions, the mediator guides the couple in taking an informed decision about the division of assets.

  • Assistance in determining spousal support (alimony)

A Divorce Mediator helps the couple assess their financial situations, income, and expenses to arrive at fair support agreements. The mediator also ensures that both the parties understand the factors influencing the decision. This is supposedly a more satisfactory process for both the parties.

  • Preparing necessary paperwork for final divorce

Once the agreement on various issues are reached, the Divorce Mediator compiles it into a document (MOA) outlining the terms and conditions of divorce along with all the necessary decisions reached during the mediation process.

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