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What can a mediator actually do for divorcing couples?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Divorce Mediation

Preparing for a divorce can be a lengthy process. There are many issues that spouses have to address when they separate their lives and finances from one another.

Those who have pre-existing marital contracts, like prenuptial agreements, may have a simple path toward divorce. The contract that they previously negotiated likely includes clear terms for the division of their property and other elements of the divorce. Those without an agreement need to work out ways to divide property and share parental authority.

If they cannot reach an agreement, then the matter may need to go to court. Some couples who have not agreed yet on specific terms might attempt to resolve their conflicts in divorce mediation. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution wherein couples sit down with a professional mediator to resolve their disagreements.

Mediators help facilitate a productive conversation

People sometimes confuse mediation with arbitration. Arbitration is similar to litigation in that the arbitrator makes a determination about an appropriate solution based on the details of the situation. Mediation is different because a mediator does not propose a settlement or impose a judgment.

Instead, their role is to help create a productive space to discuss marital issues. Mediators are neutral professionals and should provide each party with an opportunity to present their side of the situation. The mediator may ask certain questions to gain more insight. The conversations they facilitate can potentially help couples find ways to compromise with each other.

Mediators have training in the law and also in conflict resolution so that they can help people overcome the intense emotions that often accompany divorce negotiations. In the end, the spouses are the ones who pose terms for an agreement. If they do not both agree that certain terms are appropriate, then the case may proceed to litigation. In many cases, mediation results in a signed agreement that the spouses can present to the courts as part of an uncontested divorce.

Understanding what transpires during mediation and the role of a mediator may help people to more accurately assess the value of alternative dispute resolution during a New Jersey divorce. Spouses who explore every option for handling their conflicts may be able to divorce more efficiently and minimize conflict along the way.