The main goal of mediation is to help you come up with the best resolution for your situation. During the initial consultation, each case is reviewed and discussed. The mediator will provide information about mediation and the couple will be asked to discuss their goals and expectations of mediation. Together, the mediator and both parties agree on what areas need to be addressed and what issues need to be discussed. Sessions will focus on the following issues:
1. Equitable Distribution
2. Parenting Plan
3. Alimony or Spousal Support
4. Child Support
Mediation is a voluntary process. A neutral third party guides you through negotiations to reach agreements that result in a written memorandum of understanding (MOU) tailored to your situation. The (MOU) is a written document of your decisions, agreements and intentions. The MOU becomes legal and binding once it is signed and filed with the court.
The entire mediation process can be completed in a matter of weeks or months. Mediation sessions usually last 1 - 2 hours. The number of sessions needed depends upon the number of issues to be resolved and how successful the parties are in their negotiations. Mediation is a flexible process that you control and that is structured around your needs. The mediator acts as a facilitator helping you to reach agreement on key issues.
Mediation is often used early in the divorce process, however, mediation can be helpful at any point during the divorce process and even after each party has retained an attorney. If there are any immediate issues that need to be addressed such as temporary parenting arrangements, payments of rent or mortgage, calculations of child support, or temporary living arrangements, these matters can be resolved before other issues are addressed.
Mediation works best when you and your spouse are both in agreement that you want a divorce, when each of you has full knowledge of the others' assets and debts, and when despite differences, you are both flexible and eager to work things out as amicably as possible. Mediation is not appropriate when there are issues of domestic violence or when one party refuses to participate.
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