Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which an impartial party helps spouses to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. The general idea behind mediation is that the traditional adversarial approach to marital dissolution can be costly, counterproductive and emotionally punishing. Mediation may provide a way to resolve the various issues surrounding the dissolution of a marriage in a relatively amicable way. However, be aware that the mediation setting may also become just another forum for a wife and husband to vent their anger, frustration and other emotions in a counterproductive manner.
Your spouse cannot force you to participate in mediation, nor can you force your spouse to cooperate. To be successful, mediation requires that both parties to the divorce be committed to the mediation process and be prepared to openly discuss financial and other issues. Mediation is not recommended if there is domestic abuse, the threat of abuse or if one spouse is likely to “overpower” the other spouse in the mediation process. To commence the mediation process, a mediator mutually acceptable to both spouses is selected. Some mediators have professional backgrounds in the field of social work. A mediator may or may not be a lawyer but should not provide legal advice in his or her capacity as mediator. Unlike an arbitrator, a mediator cannot impose settlement terms on the parties.
UNCONTESTED: Your divorce will be uncontested if both you and your spouse:
• Want to get a divorce
• Agree about what will happen with your children, your finances, your property after the divorce
If your divorce is uncontested, and you and your spouse have reached agreement on all financial and parenting issues, you may use the Court’s free Uncontested Divorce Forms Packet. You can also use the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Uncontested Divorce Program if you are filing for an uncontested divorce, your marriage has been over for at least six months, there are no children under 21, and all marital property issues, including debt, have been settled.
If you have not reached agreement, and you think you and your spouse could come to an agreement with some help, you might want to consider divorce mediation or collaborative family law.
Chances are, we all know someone who is divorced — probably several someones. In 2000, there were over 957,200 finalized divorces in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 50 percent of all marriages entered into today will end in divorce. That’s a lot of broken homes, heartaches and paperwork, not to mention money spent on attorney fees and court costs.
But, some say those percentages of future doomed marriages have to be interpreted based on other factors. Barbara Whitehead and David Popenoe’s “The State of Our Unions” (2004), which was prepared at Rutgers University for the National Marriage Project, says that there are several important social factors that affect that 50 percent estimate. For example, your risk of divorce decreases by: Continue reading