When both spouses agree that they are headed towards divorce, conflict is not inevitable. Divorce mediation allows the spouses to work together with a neutral third party, known as a mediator, to reach a settlement. A trained mediator can help with any issues presented in the divorce, including property division, separation of debts, child support and custody, and spousal support.
Divorce mediation in Connecticut often results in a faster settlement than divorce litigation, with less stress and at less cost. At Lawrence & Jurkiewicz, our divorce mediation lawyers take advantage of their extensive family law experience to help people going through a divorce resolve their differences amicably.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral mediator works with the parties to a dispute to help them reach an agreement and settle their differences. Getting a divorce in Connecticut requires filing a civil action much like a lawsuit. Divorce mediation gives the parties a way to avoid the litigation process.
This process can begin before or after filing for divorce. Although mediation works best when both parties have voluntarily agreed to it, a Connecticut court may order the parties to work with a mediator.
Mediators in a Connecticut Divorce Matter
Mediators receive training in dispute resolution. Their job is to facilitate a discussion between the spouses, identify issues that need to be resolved, and help the spouses find common ground. Oftentimes divorce mediators are also family attorneys, but not always.
When an attorney serves as a mediator they do not represent either party to that divorce, as they must remain neutral, and cannot offer specific legal advice. However, experience representing spouses in adversarial divorce allows a divorce mediator to help spouses avoid common types of conflict that lead to contentious divorce proceedings.
A divorce mediator can help the spouses understand not only Connecticut family law, but also the prevailing norms and customs of the family court system. Before a Connecticut family court may grant a divorce, it must find that the settlement agreement is fair and equitable, and that it represents the best interests of the children, if any. A divorce mediator can make certain that the parties have reached agreements on every important issue. They can also, as needed, refer them to other professionals, such as child specialists, appraisers, or accountants.
The CT Divorce Mediation Process
Although the divorce mediation process is unique to each case, the standard process for divorce mediation is outlined below:
- The parties will schedule to meet with their mediator for either half day or full day session.
- The mediator will meet with the spouses together to discuss their goals.
- They will then facilitate a discussion of each issue in turn until an agreement is made. For example, the mediator could ask them to begin with property division. Once the spouses reach an agreement on that issue, they can move on to child support or another issue.
- If necessary, the parties to the divorce can schedule additional time later.
- Once the parties have reached an agreement, the mediator can help them draft a written separation agreement for both of them to sign. This agreement can become part of the agreed divorce decree presented to the court.
- The mediator may represent parties in court to finalize the divorce.
Will We Have to Go to Court If We Choose Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation keeps the case almost entirely out of court, until the very end when the agreed-upon decree is presented for the judge’s approval and signature. Unless, parties cannot come to an agreement and must proceed with their divorce through trial. If this occurs, it is important to note that everything discussed during mediation is confidential. No one may testify in court about anything that happened during a mediation session.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Promotes Compromise and an Amicable Settlement
Traditional divorce litigation uses the same court structure as other lawsuits. This system does not promote the peaceful resolution of the spouses’ disputes. Mediation allows the parties to air out their differences in a much safer and more supportive environment, where the focus is on finding common ground.
Mediation Can Take Less Time
Going to court means that the parties must work with the court’s schedule. Many family courts have crowded dockets. You could wait weeks, or even months, before a court can make a decision for them. With divorce mediation, you can negotiate a settlement in a much shorter time.
Low-Cost Divorce Option
Less time usually means less expense. If the parties have their own attorneys, using divorce mediation spares them the expense of preparing for court hearings and everything else involved in litigation.
You Have Control Over the Process and Outcome
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse have control over the important decisions. You are not turning any decisions over to a judge, you are not bound by a court’s schedule, and confidentiality rules protect everything that you say during the mediation.
Helps the Parties Move from Divorce to Co-Parenting
Litigation is often about who “wins.” Divorce cases are usually too complicated for that kind of framing. Divorce mediation reflects this reality by focusing on fairness and agreement instead of “winning.”
This approach is especially useful for parties who will continue to raise children together after the divorce. By focusing on finding common ground, divorce mediation helps the parties make the transition from spouses to co-parents.
Lawrence & Jurkiewicz: Avon, CT Divorce Mediation Attorneys
The divorce mediation attorneys at Lawrence & Jurkiewicz practice in Hartford and Litchfield County, helping people find their way through difficult family law issues like divorce. Please contact us today online or at (860) 926-1697 to schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help you.