What is divorce mediation? How does it work?

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. 

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