Going through a divorce can be painful enough without the added strain of a protracted legal process. So, if you’ve decided to dissolve your marriage, it’s worth considering divorce mediation as a means to reaching a settlement. At MeehanLaw, LLC in Westport, our family law attorneys represent divorcing clients in mediation so they can resolve issues on their terms, in less time and for less money. We provide sound legal advice so you can have confidence that the agreement you reach truly addresses your concerns and upholds your rights.
Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution that enables parties to reach a settlement without going to court. It involves a neutral third-party facilitator, the mediator, who guides discussions toward a compromise. Neither party gets everything they ask for, but neither are they forced to accept any terms.
In divorce mediation, spouses meet over a series of sessions to resolve major issues such as alimony, division of marital property, child custody and child support. When spouses reach a final agreement, the mediator drafts a settlement document, which they can present to the judge for approval. The judge takes their agreement and makes it the basis for the final divorce decree. The terms of their agreement are then enforceable.
It’s important to note that a mediator is not necessarily an attorney, and, in any case, is not permitted to give legal advice to either party. To make sure your agreement upholds your rights, you should have your own family law attorney throughout the process. Your lawyer won’t accompany you to the mediation sessions but can prep you for talks and review your progress after each meeting. Finally, your lawyer can review the final settlement to make sure everything is in order.
Sometimes, mediation reaches an impasse. When this happens, the couple can present a partial settlement to the court for approval. The court then schedules the other issues for trial. Mediation is not binding, so you can walk away at any time. However, mediation works best when you commit to the process and understand that each of you has to make compromises.
There are numerous advantages to mediating a divorce. In most cases, participants can expect to:
For these reasons and more, mediation is worthwhile for most divorcing couples. However, if you have been the victim of domestic violence or emotional abuse, or if you can’t trust your spouse to make a truthful, voluntary disclosure of finances, you probably should go to trial to enforce your rights.
MeehanLaw, LLC represents Westport residents in divorce mediation procedures. To get trustworthy advice and solid legal assistance, call 203-916-1743 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Westport office.