In our last post, we began looking at the topic of divorce mediation, and specifically some of the qualities couples need to exercise during the mediation process in order for it to be effective in resolving disputes. As we noted, effective divorce mediation is really not possible if a couple isn’t ready to have the right attitude in approaching it.
To be effective, divorce mediation must not only involve honest and open dialogue between the parties, but it must also result in a clear agreement the terms of which both parties can live with for the duration of the agreement. In divorce cases, the issues most likely to spark disagreements are division of property, spousal support and other financial issues, as well as child custody, visitation issues, and dealing with these matters requires is best done with the help of an experienced advocate.
It is impossible to say, in general, what types of child custody and property agreements or arrangements are mostly likely to produce consensus in divorce mediation cases, since the circumstances and parties in each case are different. The most important thing is for couples to approach the process with a sense of what they want to get out of it and an openness to working with the other party to reach an agreement.
Once an agreement is reached, it is critical for the terms to be set forth in writing as specifically and clearly as possible, so that there is no room for disagreement down the road. Failure to set for these terms in a clear manner will only lead to more time in court down the road, so it really is critical to draft the language in an understandable and unambiguous way.
Parties to divorce mediation can and should work with an experienced attorney to ensure their position and interests are fully represented in the process, and that any final agreement that may be reached addresses their concerns and is fit to withstand disputes that may come up after the mediation process is complete.