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The Divorce Encyclopedia

Term Definition Mediation - a nonadversarial divorce procedure where the spouses are assisted in reaching a settlement by a neutral third party who is trained in the divorce process.
Application in Divorce In mediated divorce, the couple get a trained and neutral mediator to help them come to agreement about finances, child care and visitation.

This analogy may seem a stretch, but a mediator is a midwife who helps with what is an admittedly painful happening. He or she coaches a couple who giving birth to a divorce. And mediation is to home delivery as litigation is to hospital birth.

Mediation is not an eleventh-hour attempt to save a failing marriage, and only couples who have jointly decided to end the marriage should use it.

Divorce mediation is face-to-face; both spouses speak to each directly. But it is not the "in your face" of a litigation.

Mediation is voluntary and it requires the agreement of both husband and wife to continue. It does not preclude the use of an attorney by each spouse, although the lawyers for the spouses are not present during the mediation.

Mediators can help for areas of agreement and enlarge them. So it does not work with spouses who seeking revenge or vindication in a divorce. Nor does it work if alcohol or drug abuse are factors in the failing marriage.

Mediation is a civil way for spouse who have reasonable differences about property distribution and custody to resolve them in a way that maintains good relations after the divorce.

Mediators are often attorneys who present relevant legal information, but they do not give legal advice or represent either party. Mediators do not take sides; they expedite consensus and agreement.

Most couples take between six and 20 hours to work through a divorce in mediation.

A mediated divorce is more expensive than a default divorce, but it allows for the participation of both partners, supports innovative thinking, assures greater success in sticking to agreements and reduces the trauma on spouses and children.

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