Mediation is an alternative to litigation in which you and your spouse agree to openly and respectfully discuss each other’s interests, so as to reach an agreement.
The objective of Mediation is that you and your spouse - and not a Judge or Mediator- will decide your rights and obligations, including custody, parenting time, child support, payment of college expenses, alimony, property division, medical insurance, life insurance, payment of debts and other things. Mediation allows you to decide your destiny.
As the Mediator, I will help you and your spouse discuss the issues, keep the conversation productive, and enable you to come up with your own solutions. When people have this dialogue, they can gain insights into their own and each other's motivations, which often opens the door to an agreement. What's more, parties who successfully mediate feel that the resolution that they have created is more satisfying and acceptable to them than anything forced upon them by a Judge. Also, mediating parties tend to come up with solutions that are more creative and better suited to their needs than what a Judge would have ordered.
However, for mediation to be meaningful, each party must share information about income, expenses, debts and property. This will allow each party to make informed decisions.
It is important to understand the differences between the duties of an Attorney and a Mediator. Even though I am an attorney, when I mediate a dispute I do not act as an attorney and I do not represent youor your spouse and cannot give legal advice. This is because a Mediator is a “Neutral,” while an Attorney is a representative of a party. (Please see Litigation to see how Mediation differs from litigation.)
At the conclusion of a successful mediation, I will put into writing what was agreed upon - a document called a "Memorandum of Understanding." However, because I am the “Neutral,” I do not accompany you to Court and do not prepare the documents that will need to be filed. Instead, I will refer you to “mediation friendly” attorneys who can prepare a formal Separation Agreement for you based upon the Memorandum of Understanding. Your attorney will also prepare the other documents that must be filed with the Court and answer your questions about the Agreement.
Mediation is not binding and if it no agreement is reached, you and your spouse can try another process or go to Court. However, the Mediator may not be summonsed to Court and what was discussed during the mediation sessions remains confidential.