A conventional separation or divorce process is based on adversarial principles. Parties choose to use, or often threaten to use, the court system and judges to resolve their dispute.
In mediation an impartial third party (the mediator) assists couples to negotiate and help settle issues.
If you are considering divorce mediation, this article describes some basic principles that will help you better understand the mediation process.
Participation is Voluntary
Both parties need to agree to participate in the mediation process. Couples choose Mediation because they want to work together to resolve their issues. It is an excellent option for couples who are committed to maintaining an amicable relationship.
The Process is Confidential
Mediation is confidential. Everything discussed in mediation will be kept private. Mediators cannot be subpoenaed or called to testify on behalf of mediation clients. This allows the mediation room to be a safe place that fosters open dialogue. The open dialogue ultimately leads to better understanding of the issues, the interests of everyone involved, and more creative and flexible solutions.
Couples Determine What is in their Agreement
Clients make their own decisions. Unlike litigation or arbitration, the couple makes decisions that are in their own best interest, rather than having a judge decide on their behalf.
The Mediator is Neutral
Mediators work on behalf of both spouses. The principle of neutrality is central to the success of mediation. A good mediator may suggest alternative solutions that might not otherwise be apparent to the separating couple. A mediator does not make any decisions, they are there to help the parties to make their own decisions.
Couples Make Informed Decisions
A good mediator will work hard to ensure that clients have the information they require so they are able to make well informed decisions on matters such as finances, division of property and the parenting of their children. This also requires that both parties be willing to provide full financial disclosure on all matters related to their separation.