What Is Mediation in Divorce?
During divorce mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a mediator who is a neutral third party who will have the goal of being able to find a mutual agreement over all the issues that need to be decided. Although mediators are often lawyers, they do not and should not provide either side with legal advice or make orders the way a judge does. Mediators attempt to foster compromise and agreement on all terms of the divorce such as alimony, division of property, and child custody.
Although mediation is usually a faster process than through filing a complaint for divorce in court to get the ball rolling, successful mediation often still takes several sessions with the mediator to obtain a finalized divorce agreement (also known as a separation agreement). While you may be eager to start mediation right away to get your divorce over with as soon as possible, it is important to evaluate if it is right for you and your marriage. If mediation is unsuccessful, which means there is even one small issue that you and your spouse may not be able to agree upon, you will have to start over from the beginning and potentially go through the litigation route to enable a judge to provide you with feedback on that matter. Whether it is through the use of litigation, mediation, or arbitration, our experienced attorneys at O’Connor Family Law could find creative solutions to your divorce problems and help you move forward into the life you want.
How an Attorney Can Help
Even if you choose to attend mediation alone without an attorney present, it is still highly advisable that you talk to independent legal counsel before and during the mediation process. This will help you ensure that you understand your rights so you can made educated decisions on what you want and what you are willing to give up through negotiations. You will not receive any legal advice during mediation from the mediator. Having one of our dedicated lawyers at your side could ensure that your rights are protected and you are treated fairly because knowledge is power.
After you come to a complete resolution on all the outstanding issues, either an attorney or the mediator will have to draft the divorce agreement (or separation agreement). This is the document that will be filed with the Court along with your joint divorce petition and related documents. The Judge will review this Agreement at an uncontested hearing date where you and your spouse will need to appear. If the Judge does not find the Agreement to be fair and reasonable, the Judge can deny your request to obtain the divorce. We can help make sure that there are no missing parts before taking the agreement to the Judge, that the agreement works how you would like it to in the future, and that it is approved by the Judge at that hearing.
It is really difficult to know what elements to push on and what to concede during divorce mediation, which is often a very emotional proceeding. However, with all of our experience, we could advise you on the most important negotiation strategies to put you in the best position to get the outcome you desire and for moving forward after your divorce is finalized.
Going through Mediation? You Need a Divorce Mediation Lawyer and Ally
Mediation is a great alternative to litigation when the process runs smoothly; however, to protect your rights and ensure you still receive a fair settlement, you should always work with an attorney experienced in handling divorce mediation and negotiation. Call us in our Westborough office today to see how we can help you move on with your life with a divorce.