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Frequently asked questions

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Divorce mediation is a process where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates communication between two parties going through a divorce. The goal is to help them reach mutually agreeable resolutions on various issues related to the dissolution of their marriage.

The mediator does not make decisions for the couple, but rather assists them in making their own decisions. This process is generally less adversarial and less expensive than traditional divorce litigation, and it can help the couple maintain better relationships moving forward, which can be particularly important when children are involved. At Resolvium, we provide expert divorce mediation services aimed at helping couples navigate this difficult process with dignity and respect.

These issues may include:

  • Division of property and debts
  • Child custody and parenting plans
  • Spousal and child support
  • Any other matters that need to be resolved

Divorce mediation and traditional litigation are two different approaches to handling a divorce. Here’s how they differ:

  • Control Over Outcome: In mediation, the parties themselves have control over the outcome. They work together to reach agreements that are mutually satisfactory. In litigation, decisions are made by a judge, and the parties have less control over the result.

  • Cost: Mediation is generally less expensive than litigation. This is because it avoids many of the costs associated with court proceedings, such as lawyer’s fees, court costs and other related expenses.

  • Confidentiality: Mediation sessions are private and confidential. The discussions and agreements remain between the parties involved. On the other hand, traditional litigation is a matter of public record.

  • Time: Mediation can often be completed more quickly than litigation, since it doesn’t depend on court dates and judicial availability.

  • Relationships: Mediation tends to be less adversarial than litigation. It encourages cooperation and communication, which can help preserve relationships, particularly when children are involved.

While divorce mediation can be a beneficial process for many couples, it may not be the best choice for everyone. Here are some factors that might influence whether mediation is suitable:

  • Willingness to Communicate: Both parties should be willing to openly communicate and negotiate with each other. If there’s a significant communication breakdown, mediation might be challenging.

  • Mutual Respect: Mediation works best when both parties can treat each other with respect. If there is a high level of animosity or one party feels intimidated by the other, mediation may not be effective.

  • Transparency: It’s crucial that both parties are honest and transparent about their assets and debts. If one party is suspected of hiding assets, the transparency needed for successful mediation might be lacking.

  • Domestic Violence: In situations where there’s a history of domestic violence, mediation may not be appropriate due to the power imbalance and risk of intimidation.

  • Agreement to Mediate: Both parties must agree to the mediation process. If one party is strongly opposed to it, mediation may not be feasible.

On average, divorce mediation might take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. However, the length of the divorce mediation process can vary significantly depending on several factors. 

These include:

  • Complexity of the Case: More complex cases, such as those involving substantial assets, business interests, or disputes over child custody, may take longer to mediate.

  • Willingness to Negotiate: If both parties are willing to negotiate and compromise, mediation can proceed more quickly. Conversely, if one or both parties are stubborn or uncooperative, the process can take longer.

  • Availability of the Parties: Mediation sessions are scheduled according to the availability of both parties and the mediator. If scheduling conflicts arise frequently, this can extend the duration of the process.

Divorce mediation offers several benefits compared to the traditional litigation process:

  • Control Over Decisions: In divorce mediation, the decision-making power lies with the couple, not a judge. This allows for personalized solutions that take into account the unique needs and circumstances of both parties.

  • Cost-Effective: Mediation is often less expensive than traditional litigation as it avoids many of the costs associated with court proceedings.

  • Confidentiality: Unlike court trials which are public, mediation is a private and confidential process. The content of the discussions during mediation is not made public.

  • Preserving Relationships: Mediation is generally less adversarial than litigation, which can help maintain a better post-divorce relationship. This is particularly advantageous when children are involved.

  • Time-Efficient: Because mediation doesn’t depend on court schedules, it can often be completed more quickly than litigation.

  • Reduced Stress: By promoting cooperative problem solving and avoiding adversarial court proceedings, mediation can reduce the emotional stress and conflict associated with divorce.

While it’s not mandatory to have separate attorneys during divorce mediation, it can be beneficial. Here’s why:

  • Legal Advice: A mediator’s role is to stay neutral and facilitate discussions, not to provide legal advice. Having your own attorney ensures that you have someone who can provide personalized legal advice and advocate for your best interests.

  • Understanding Legal Documents: Attorneys can help in understanding and drafting legal documents associated with the mediation process and the final divorce agreement.

  • Reviewing the Agreement: Before finalizing the mediated agreement, it can be helpful to have it reviewed by an independent attorney. They can ensure that the agreement is fair, equitable, and in line with your interests.

At Resolvium, we aim to facilitate open and effective communication to help parties find common ground. However, we understand that not all issues may be resolved in mediation, and we’re prepared to guide our clients through their options should this situation arise. If you can’t reach an agreement on all issues during mediation, you have a few options:

  • Continue with Mediation: Sometimes, it may be beneficial to take a break and resume mediation after some time. This could provide a chance for both parties to reflect on their positions or gather additional information.

  • Partial Agreement: If you’ve reached an agreement on some but not all issues, you can draft a partial agreement documenting the points of consensus. The unresolved matters can then be addressed separately.

  • Litigation: If certain issues remain unresolved despite your best efforts in mediation, you may choose to move to traditional court process for those specific matters. A judge can make the final decision on these unresolved disputes.

The mediation process itself is not legally binding. However, once both parties agree on the terms and a written agreement, often called a Memorandum of Understanding or Marital Settlement Agreement, is signed, that agreement becomes a legally binding contract.

This agreement can be submitted to the court for approval and, once approved, it is incorporated into the divorce decree and enforced like any other court order. In other words, violating the terms of this agreement can have legal consequences.

It’s important to fully understand all terms and implications of your agreement before signing. At Resolvium, we emphasize clear, comprehensive communication to ensure both parties fully understand the outcomes of their mediated agreement.

No, you do not necessarily have to be in the same room during mediation. While many mediations occur with both parties present in the same room, there are situations where it may be more beneficial or comfortable to conduct sessions separately. This is often referred to as “caucus” or “shuttle” mediation.

In shuttle mediation, the mediator goes back and forth between the two parties, who are in separate rooms. This can be useful if there is a high level of conflict, tension or discomfort between the parties.

The decision to be in the same room or separate rooms can be made based on the preference of the parties and the recommendation of the mediator. At Resolvium, we aim to create an environment that promotes effective communication and comfort for all parties involved.

Yes, absolutely. Mediation is not limited to married couples. It is a flexible process that can be used to resolve disputes in any type of relationship. The goal of mediation is to help parties find mutually agreeable solutions, regardless of the nature of their relationship. 

These include:

  • Cohabiting Couples: Mediation can help resolve issues related to property division, financial matters, and even pet custody.

  • Parenting Disputes: If you’re not married but share children, mediation can be an effective way to work out child custody arrangements, parenting plans, and child support issues.

  • Separating Partners: If you’re in a domestic partnership or civil union, mediation can help address the same issues that arise in a traditional divorce.

After successful divorce mediation, the following steps typically occur:

  • Drafting the Agreement: The mediator, or in some cases an attorney, will draft a formal agreement based on the decisions made during mediation. This is often called a Memorandum of Understanding or Marital Settlement Agreement.

  • Reviewing the Agreement: Both parties, ideally with their respective attorneys, should thoroughly review the document to ensure it accurately reflects their understanding and agreements.

  • Signing the Agreement: Once both parties agree that the document is accurate and complete, they will sign the agreement.

  • Court Approval: The signed agreement is submitted to the court for approval. Once approved, it becomes part of the final divorce decree.

  • Compliance: Both parties must then comply with the terms of the agreement. If one party fails to do so, the other party can take legal action to enforce it.

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