Mediation is a voluntary process. Most commonly, it involves the two spouses meeting with the mediator who guides the couple into settling their divorce case without the need to have an evidentiary hearing in front of a judge who will make their decisions for them.
Mediation: How it Works
The spouses work with a neutral mediator, who is generally an attorney. Each spouse may have their own attorney with whom they can consult as they go through the divorce process, but the attorneys do not attend the mediation meetings.
The neutral mediator guides the couple in making their decisions but does not tell them what they should do. The mediator may suggest they consult with experts on issues that trouble them. Perhaps they need a financial consultant to help them prepare the required financial disclosures and budgets, as they rearrange the funds that used to support one household into funds that will now support two.
If there are issues regarding child custody and visitation, it may be helpful to bring in a counselor who can provide information about how to support a child through the divorce process. .
How You Can Make Mediation Successful
Some things to consider before agreeing to mediation:
- Is it a format you are comfortable with? You will be meeting with the mediator and your spouse. Just the three of you. Will that work?
- Attending mediation prepared with the homework you are requested to bring, including the financial disclosures, saves you time and money. This helps you move through the process efficiently. .
- Keep an open mind, open ears, and open heart. You will need to listen to your spouse and honestly consider his or her needs without being overly reactive. Even if your spouse is saying something untactfully, try to give him or her the benefit of the doubt.
- You must be willing to share your concerns and what is important to you. You must be willing to compromise.
- When discussing financial issues, keep in mind that there is a finite set of assets and income to go around. Neither of you will get 100 percent of what you desire. It is, of course, more expensive to live in two households than it is to live all together in just one home. You need to be willing to make cut back on your budget and perhaps forgo things you were able to do or buy while you shared one household.
Our attorneys at Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law can discuss with you the mediation process and what the best approach is for your own divorce. Contact us online or by calling 650-642-3897 to schedule a confidential consultation.