My spouse and I are getting divorced. We have small children and would really like to keep things quiet and civilized. I’ve been reading about divorce mediation and came across something called Alternative Dispute Resolution. What is it, and how can it help with our divorce?
Alternative Dispute Resolution, also known as ADR, refers to any means of settling disputes outside the courtroom. It’s not just for divorcing couples, although it works extremely well for families who wish to avoid a messy courtroom battle. ADR typically includes the services of a neutral third party. This person is an expert in evaluation, negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.
If you are interested in using ADR, you are likely pursuing an amicable, or friendly, divorce. That means you will be working with a divorce mediator, as opposed to a traditional divorce attorney. Your divorce mediator can (and should be) an attorney herself, but it is not required if you are getting divorced in Connecticut.
What is divorce mediation?
It’s a team-based approach to ending your marriage. Unlike a traditional divorce, where there are two sides, and a hard line drawn in the sand, divorce mediation is all about communication and negotiation. The divorce mediator’s primary role is to promote voluntary decisions between the divorcing spouses. She is playing a neutral role here; your divorce mediator will not favor one party over the other. Nor will she provide legal advice or legal representation.
The only people involved are you, your spouse, and the divorce mediator. If necessary, other experts (such as an appraiser, parenting specialist or financial analyst) can be called in to address specific issues.
One advantage of a mediated divorce is that it can take less time, and cost less money, than a traditional divorce. Success ultimately comes down to the couple’s willingness to negotiate a fair settlement. Generally, a mediated divorce takes between four and five session (two to three hours each), spread out over three or four months. If yours is a highly complicated divorce, experts might need to be summoned. In which case, the process might take as long as six months.
What happens during an alternative dispute resolution session?
It’s very similar to what you can expect from a divorce mediator. These are just a few ways your divorce mediator will advise both you and your spouse.
She (or he) will:
- Meet with both of you at the same time
- Create a safe place for understanding and discussion
- Facilitate ongoing communication
- Strive to arrive at an agreement that both of you are satisfied with
- Once that part is done, your divorce mediator will:
- Write the separation agreement you negotiated during the mediation process
- Develop the financial documents necessary for the court
- If needed, create Child Support Guidelines based on current state laws
- Refer both of you to divorce attorneys for an independent review of your negotiated settlement
CT Mediation Center is the premier divorce mediation law firm in Connecticut. We focus only on amicable, peaceful divorces. Our attorneys and mediators work with couples who are interested in alternative dispute resolution; people who would rather spend their energy and resources working constructively to resolve their differences rather than “winning the fight.”
Our attorneys practice ADR because we’ve seen how destructive litigated divorce can be to spouses and especially children.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our services, please give us a call.