The term “mediation” broadly refers to any instance in which a third party helps others reach agreement. More specifically, mediation has a structure, timetable and dynamics that “ordinary” negotiation lacks. The process is private and confidential and can produce binding orders that are enforceable by the courts.
Mediation in Divorce Includes 10 Specific Steps
- Choose to use mediation for your divorce or family case.
- Together, the couple selects their mediator and signs a fee agreement.
- Mediation sessions can begin before, during, or after filing your Petition with the court. Filing your Petition opens the case.
- The Mediator prepares your Petition for Divorce, Annulment or Modification. This Petition must be from one spouse, the “Petitioner.” The other spouse is the “Respondent.”
- The Respondent is served with the Petition, and other documents, by a process server or signs an Acceptance of Service. That day begins the countdown to the earliest date to file the final divorce papers, the 60 day deadline.
- The parties participate in 2-5 mediation sessions to reach agreement on all issues in the matter.
- After each session, some of the final agreements can begin to be written. The parties will review what is drafted and make necessary changes or corrections.
- After the final mediation, the final Decree or Orders, are signed and notarized by all parties. They are then filed for the Judge’s final signature. The Judge’s signature makes the documents enforceable court orders.
- After the Judge signs the final Decree, or Orders, copies are returned to the parties.
- Follow up work begins, such as changing titles of homes, vehicles, and retirement accounts. This can be overseen by the mediator or parties as agreed.
Mediation is one of the best ways to get your divorce or any other family law dispute resolved. Mediation is faster, it costs less, and it gives both parties a chance to be heard and to discuss things that may never be discussed in a court room setting.
For more information about Mediated Divorce, I recommend this article on Findlaw:
It includes a description of the mediators role, as well as an outline of the mediation process.