Getting divorced is a decision that requires careful consideration. Sadly, divorce is not always easy. As one attorney put it, “sometimes the legal process takes so long that you are left feeling like there is no point attempting to solve the issues that divide you.” It takes time to heal from the wounds of hurt feelings and hurt feelings do not heal quickly. The legal system can be inefficient and unfair if there is not fairness given to both spouses in a divorce.
Advantage of Mediation
Divorce Mediation can be the least expensive route available. But the decision to go to mediation must be made carefully, because it can influence part of your life for years to come. If one spouse refuses to go to mediation, the other has the option of filing an action in civil court to have the order that would dissolve the marriage enforced. Such an action may be started even though one or both parties have subsequently sought counselling.
Let’s face it. If you and your spouse are planning on filing for divorce, there are going to be issues that need to be worked out. You need to hire an attorney and a mediator. A divorce can be devastating for anyone involved. It can cause financial hardship, strain your relationship with your children, and even put a strain on your marriage.
Who can be a mediator?
The mediator used in these cases is a private individual whom both parties have agreed to keep confidential. The purpose of this confidentiality is to ensure that the mediator can carry out his or her role without interference or threat of discrediting the final outcome. The mediator may be an attorney, psychologist, or another professional who specializes in crisis counselling.
What is the role of a mediator?
The mediator does not make decisions for the spouses. Rather, he or she guides the spouses to address between themselves each decision which the spouses must make to complete a final agreement and get divorced on their own terms. As an absolute minimum, a mediator should understand all elements of each side’s case. As a guideline of sorts, he or she can help set an objective (for example: Most expenses are covered by income sources other than alimony) that each spouse must reach in order to move forward with separation (thus mitigating the amount each spouse pays while pursuing an agreement). This is not to say that all mediators can do this perfectly — quite the contrary! Often a single bad phone call can set things in motion
In a divorce, the mediator helps keep the negotiations between the spouses civil, guiding them to address each question that must be resolved to have a truly settled case that only needs a judge to dissolve the marriage, not to rule on the many questions that the spouses in mediation resolve between themselves on an out-of-court basis, on their terms which both can accept as fair. In one of the most important roles played by a mediator, he/she teaches both parties how best to answer questions as set forth in the order of their priority. The mediator also helps keep the parties from advancing past their current frustration by providing answers to prior questions that must be (re)discussed and resolved before moving on to the next level of discussions or action.
The mediator does not give legal advice and must not be interpreted as doing so. The mediator should not act as attorney or advocate for either spouse; nor should he give legal advice concerning alimony, child custody, spousal support, or death benefit issues. The mediator leaves it up to each spouse to determine what is in his or her best interest.
Both Mediation and non-mediation have different, and often complicated rules and procedures for how they work. Both types of court proceedings require an agreement between the parties (the plaintiff and defendant in a case, or a parent and child in a family action). In mediations, each side presents their case to the other, alternately keeping the other person (the mediator) informed and trying to get along with the other person (the accused).
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