4 Tutorials that teach Divorce Mediation
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Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation

Author: Marlene Johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand how mediation is applied in divorce cases.

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Video Transcription

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Divorce mediation is one of the most common applications of conflict resolution in the United States. Well, I'm Marlene, and today I'd like to talk with you more about divorce mediation.

So what is it? What is divorce mediation? Well, it's when a divorcing couple agrees to sit down with the mediator to divide up property, finances, and decide on child care or child custody.

And when they do this, when they decide to do this, the first thing that they will do to initiate the process is sign a participation agreement. This is an agreement that initiates the divorce, and they will both sign this.

Now, when they meet with the mediator, they get to design whatever solution they want. It's up to them to do this. But typically each party will hire an attorney as a consultant to review what they draw up, just to see if it's legal. If it's legally enforceable. Is there anything that needs to be tweaked?

Because the mediator is not there is a legal expert. The mediator is there to help them talk about their interests and come to some agreements on what needs to be decided.

Then each of them will have their lawyer review it. And then it will be taken to a judge to be approved as a legally enforceable document.

Now, something that's also of interest here is that the attorneys for either party will also sign a participation agreement saying that they will not represent either party in any future legal issue. So if, in the future, one party wants to go to court over some family matter and take the other party to court, the attorney that they used in the mediation cannot represent either that party or the other party.

Typically because they've learned too much. They know too much from having been part of the mediated settlement so they do sign off on participating in the future in that way with either party.

Now, divorce mediation has been successful and so successful, in fact, and so popular among so many people, that many states now will require that couples go for at least one session in mediation and try it out before going to the court.

Now, if the couple should decide they don't want to go that route, of course, that's their choice, states can't force them to. But some states will require that they have one session.

So there are advantages. It's, I think, become a popular way to go because of the advantages of divorce mediation. I've written some of them down here.

First of all, to reduce cost and time. The costs, both financially and in terms of time, are much less than taking a divorce through the court system.

Secondly, the parties get to develop their own outcomes. So typically it'll be more mutually satisfying because they are deciding on the solution here, on the plan moving forward, not a judge.

And they will create their own parenting plan. Now, a parenting plan, should there be children involved here, is how they want to collaborate or not in child care and rearing. So they will work with the mediator on what that plan looks like. And so that will be more mutually satisfying to them, because they've come up with it on their own.

And, of course, all of this will improve a post-marriage relationship, whatever that should be, as affected by this divorce going forward. And particularly if there are children involved and there is going to be some contact and relationship here, it's best to have the tension and the animosity reduced in terms of the divorce proceeding, and a divorce mediation is more likely to do that than going through a court system, a costly and prolonged court system.

So these are a few of the advantages of divorce mediation. And, once again, more and more couples are going this route. States are recommending they try it out, and couples will work with a mediator.

They will each have attorneys to review whatever they come up with, but the attorneys are not there to represent them in court. And to make it legal, in the end they do go to a judge with what they've drawn up with the mediator and had each of their attorneys review. And then the judge will sign it off as legally enforceable.

So thank you for joining me, and I look forward to next time.

  • Divorce Mediation

    Mediation to divide property and finances, and/or decide child custody, as raised by divorce.

  • Post-Marriage Relationship

    The relationship between two partners as affected/changed by a divorce.

  • Parenting Plan

    The plan of divorced parties to collaborate (or not) in child care and rearing activities.

  • Participation Agreement

    An agreement by a divorcing or separating couple required to initiate divorce mediation.