What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is the process of negotiating a fair divorce agreement in light of all your family’s circumstances by utilizing the services of a neutral divorce mediation attorney. Unlike in a litigated divorce, you have control because you and your spouse make decisions about all aspects of your divorce including the division of assets, spousal support, child custody, and visitation.
In divorce mediation you work together as a team ― you, your spouse and the attorney mediator. In a mediated divorce other professionals are brought on board as needed such as an appraiser, a parenting specialist or financial analyst. Utilizing such specialists in the divorce process enables the divorcing couple to reach clarity and understanding without unnecessary legal tactics and maneuvers or additional court pressures and deadlines.
Increasingly, in contentious divorces litigation divorce lawyers and judges now recommend divorce mediation to parties in conflict. In Connecticut, the process is actually required in Family Courts prior to a trial. A short and sweet version of Mediation, the Special Masters Pretrial is actually an informal ADR process on financial disputes, designed to help divorcing couples avoid the conundrum of trial. Prior to going to trial, a Judicial Pretrial is a form of mediation conducted by a Family Judge in an attempt to resolve the impasse encountered.
What Does a Divorce Mediator Do?
A divorce mediator who is also a divorce attorney facilitates communication and negotiation and controls the divorce process by promoting voluntary decisions between the divorcing spouses. The divorce mediation attorney remains neutral and cannot give each individual spouse legal advice or provide legal representation as a divorce lawyer would. This is because the role of the neutral divorce mediation attorney is different from a typical divorce attorney. In a mediated divorce the lawyer:
- Meets with both spouses at the same time;
- Creates a safe place for understanding and discussion;
- Facilitates the communication between the parties;
- Provides information about the legal system and legal process in general;
- Identifies and lists all options;
- Understands and discuss those options;
- And, comes to an agreement where BOTH spouses are satisfied with the settlement;
- Writes the separation agreement negotiated in the mediation process;
- Constructs financial documents necessary for the court and creates Child Support Guidelines based on the current state laws;
- Refers the couple to third party experts for services such as property appraisals, pension valuations, QDRO preparation, accountants, business valuators or a child specialist;
- Always refers the spouses to independent review attorneys.
What Is the Divorce Mediation Process?
The steps in a typical divorce mediation consist of a series of meetings (2-3 hours each meeting) with the divorce mediator lawyer.
Step #1 in the Divorce Mediation Process
At the first meeting, the divorce mediation attorney describes the process of mediation: the Do’s, the Don’ts and the Must Not’s. The divorce mediator helps the couple identify all the issues that need to be resolved. They then prioritize the order in which issues will be discussed and then determine what information needs to be gathered and shared.
The divorce mediation attorney drafts all the necessary paperwork for the Court. You can either choose to waive having papers served or the divorce mediator will ensure proper service by the State Marshal. Between the first and second session the couple gathers all relevant financial data, or if necessary, the opinions of experts such as appraisers or accountants.
Step #2 in the Divorce Mediation Process
Your divorce mediation attorney helps you pinpoint and gather all necessary financial information such as bank or brokerage statements, appraisals such as business, real estate and pension plans, retirement accounts, debt, etc. so that you and your spouse can make informed financial decisions. As needed, your divorce mediation attorney will suggest consultation with other professionals such as appraisers, business valuation experts, pension or retirement valuators and other divorce attorneys.
In the subsequent meetings, discussions revolve around how to resolve various issues in order to meet the needs of both parties and if children are involved, how the couple parent or co-parent the children in the future.
Step #3 in the Divorce Mediation Process
The divorce mediator lawyer guides you in understanding your own needs and the needs of your spouse and the children, in a safe, non-confrontational environment. Remember, a divorce mediator attorney controls the process, you control the decision making. Once all issues are resolved, your legal agreement is drafted. Your attorney mediator will go to Court with you and present the document to the Court. Your Separation Agreement is officially made an enforceable Court Order.
When an agreement is reached on all issues, the divorce mediation attorney drafts the divorce agreement for review by each spouse and their review counsel. If an agreement is not fully reached on a specific issue, the divorce mediator may be able to arrange a private pretrial meeting with a family judge who can counsel the spouses as to how the court will likely settle that specific issue.
Visit our Divorce Mediation FAQ page if you have additional questions about the divorce mediation process and the role of the attorney mediator during the mediation process.
Why Choose CT Mediation Center for Divorce Meditation?
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 committed to approaching the end of their marriage with integrity and reason; people who would rather spend their energy and resources working constructively to resolve their differences rather than "winning the fight."
Our attorneys practice mediated divorce because we’ve seen how destructive litigated divorce can be to spouses and especially children. Even though we are experts in mediation, we participate in ongoing training in mediation techniques. Both patient and tireless, we employ a full toolbox of mediation and negotiation skills and remain firmly committed to helping families in transition reach comprehensive, sustainable and fair divorce agreements.
The lawyers at CT Mediation Center have successfully mediated hundreds of divorce cases many of which include complex financial matters, division of business assets, and high net worth cases. We handle the entire divorce process from filing the paperwork, negotiations, writing the separation agreement and present the agreements to the Court.
While our main office is in Glastonbury, we also have satellite offices in Farmington, Enfield, and New London. Call (860)986-1141 or email today to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation with one of our divorce mediation attorneys.