What Is Mediation?

30 Second Mediation PSA,American Bar Association, ADR Section.

Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party facilitates communication between two parties to help them reach a mutually acceptable resolution of their dispute.

The mediator first identifies all the issues that need to be worked out between the parties and will then help the parties to achieve an agreeable solution through open communication and disclosure. Each party discloses all relevant financial and other information to expedite the process.

After a mutually acceptable resolution has been reached between the spouses, a settlement agreement is written. The settlement agreement is a contract that binds both parties. The terms contained within the agreement may include, but are not limited to, child custody, parenting plans, spousal and child support, and equitable distribution.

Download a free copy of Deborah's article entitled: 50/50 Parenting Plans During Separation and Divorce: Practical Considerations for Mediating Parenting Plans

Who Is A Mediator?

The parties collaboratively select the mediator. The mediator may be a lawyer or some other trained professional. The mediator should be impartial to both parties and not provide legal advice to either party. Rather, the mediator should help the couple or parties to engage in positive dialogue to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. It is the duty of the mediator to be sensitive to the interests and needs of each party, and to help the parties reach a workable resolution that meets the goals of both.

Do I Still Need To Hire A Lawyer?

Parties may consult a lawyer for advice prior to, during, and following the mediation process. It is not required that a lawyer be physically present during the mediation process. However, it is advisable to consult an attorney before a settlement agreement is finalized.

Why Is Mediation Right For Me?

Mediation is an attractive alternative to litigation for many types of family conflicts. It is a voluntary process, completely confidential, and both parties also set their own pace.

Unlike litigation, mediation is not adversarial. The parties work together to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. The mediation process allows the couple to reach creative solutions that are in the best interest of both. Mediation is often less expensive and quicker than litigation.

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