What is Mediation
In family law, spouses can choose to mediate all of the financial,
visitation and custody issues which accompany any divorce, including
division of the marital estate, pension benefits, maintenance, child
support issues, custody and visitation. Issues which are most often
covered in mediation include the following:
- terms governing child custody
- terms governing visitation
- maintenance / unallocated support payments
- structure of future payments in light of tax considerations
- educational plans for the children
- disposition of the marital residence
- division of marital and non marital property
- division of marital and non marital debt
Mediation offers those clients who are willing to sit down face-to-face
with their spouses an opportunity to create their own settlement
within the limits of the law. If two people wish to divorce amicably
and simply need some help in understanding the laws governing distribution
of marital assets, custody or visitation issues, mediation can quickly
identify the issues and result in a negotiated settlement without
the upset and significant costs associated with court action. Also
where children are involved mediation is usually less confrontational
and provides a setting for both parents to voice their concerns
which often results in a more fine-tuned and agreeable joint parenting
Mediation is not for everyone. Next to violent crime and terminal
illness, divorce ranks as one of the most traumatic experiences
of a persons life. Sometimes we are caught completely off
guard or completely unprepared upon being served with divorce papers.
One or both parties may be unready or unwilling to sit in the same
room to discuss the final disposition of the marital estate. Under
those circumstances, Isabel M. Millard, PC will often
refer one or both parties to the appropriate professional counselor.
Mediation is also inappropriate if one or both parties are unable
to control the anger which often accompanies an unexpected breakup.
In those cases, it is often most helpful for each party to retain
separate legal counsel.
| What Traits Should I Look For in a Mediator
Credentials are important. If you are seeking to mediate a divorce
settlement, then look for a mediator who is knowledgeable in the
governing laws of your State. At Isabel M. Millard, PC,
our mediators are also licensed attorneys who concentrate their
practice solely in the area of family law. Ask for a consultation
prior to entering into an agreement with any mediator. You and your
spouse should interview prospective mediators together.
Choosing a mediator is much like choosing a physician. Rapport
is important. Remember, you will be discussing some of the most
intimate details of your family, so you need to choose a mediator you
are comfortable talking in front of and sitting with in a room.
If you feel rushed or uncomfortable or have any doubts, ask for
a recommendation for other family law mediators in the area.