What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is spouses discussing and deciding the terms of their divorce with help from a mediator. Here are three important things to know about divorce mediation:
- Spouses discuss divorce topics together, during sessions with their mediator.
- Spouses are the decision-makers in divorce mediation—not lawyers or judges.
- The divorce mediator is impartial, never taking sides for or against either spouse.
In my office, about 9 in 10 couples who try mediation reach agreement on all important divorce topics. In Pennsylvania, spouses who reach an out-of-court agreement can divorce without setting foot in court.
Role of spouses in divorce mediation
In a mediation divorce, spouses have two important jobs:
- Discussing terms of divorce— Divorcing husbands and wives must be willing to talk to each other during mediation sessions. Some divorce topics may be hard to discuss, but their mediator will help.
- Deciding terms of divorce— Spouses are the decision–makers in divorce mediation. They should expect to make decisions for themselves and their family.
Some divorcing couples come to mediation with many terms of agreement already worked out. Others come to mediation without any idea of where to start. Either way is fine. They can count on their divorce mediator to provide needed assistance.
What is a divorce mediator?
A divorce mediator is a person who helps spouses divorce without fighting in court. The divorce mediator:
- assists spouses in discussing all important divorce topics,
- provides information so divorcing wives and husbands may make informed decisions together,
- serves as an impartial helper—never taking sides for or against either spouse.
❝A divorce mediator works to make divorce as peaceful as possible. The calm, patient and humble presence of a divorce mediator helps spouses discuss and decide important—even difficult—issues together.❞
Spouses and divorcing parents may not be aware of all issues they must decide when divorcing. An experienced divorce mediator makes sure they discuss all important:
- legal topics
- tax issues
- financial considerations (download a fillable budget form now)
- parenting matters
Divorcing spouses need information to help them make informed decisions. A mediator can provide information to both spouses during divorce mediation sessions. For example, a divorce mediator may provide information about ways to:
- calculate spousal support and alimony,
- distribute a marital home in divorce,
- distribute retirement assets in divorce while minimizing taxes and penalties.
For divorcing moms and dads, a mediator may provide information about how to:
- calculate child support,
- set up a child custody schedule,
- deal with a child's college expenses.
Always, a divorce mediator remains impartial. This means:
- not taking sides,
- not judging who is right or wrong.
Spouses find it easier to discuss and decide the terms of their divorce when they know their mediator is a completely neutral helper.