How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
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How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

Learn more about if mediation is right for your divorce case.

Separations usually bring up feelings of anger and bitterness, but emotional conflicts tends to make divorce more costly. If each of you want to avoid going to court, discovery, blame game, and an expensive trial, you could benefit from divorce mediation. Keep reading to find out if it’s right for your situation.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is the process allowing divorcing couples to meet with a professional-trained, unbiased 3rd party to talk about and resolve typical divorce-related matters. Mediation is usually less strenuous and less costly than divorce trials, and it typically proceeds a lot quicker. Since each of you have last word over the divorce matters, mediation also enables couples to retain the power and control in their divorce, in lieu of asking a judge to make a decision.

Mediation allows both of you the chance to hone your communication skills, even under circumstances in which a lack of communication was a cause for the marriage’s demise. With the assistance of a trained professional, even the most communication challenged spouses can be successful in mediation.

How Do Parents Decide on a Mediator?

There’s no doubt that divorce gets more complicated when children are involved. Parents wanting a divorce are going to need to choose a mediator that is trained to deal with the various matters that come with divorce, such as child custody, visitation rights, and child support.

Your mediator needs to be trained in conflict resolution and have comprehensive knowledge of the divorce laws in your state. In addition, your mediator needs to be willing to work with both of you to promote an important conversation about the matters close at hand, which may help takes out the blame game and other drama that typically comes with divorce. Usually, mediators are going to keep you on the right path and might make recommendations to help you resolve any long-standing issues. Nevertheless, your mediator can not make choices for you, pressure either spouse to accept a condition or contend that either of the spouses sign a contract.

The mediation process begins once you both are in agreement for using this method of alternative conflict resolution and decide on your mediator. In a lot of states, mediation is voluntary, so when either spouse is in disagreement and wants to follow the conventional divorce way, a court is not going to pressure your spouse to be involved in mediation. Having said that, there are some states in which the court requires couples to prove a good faith effort in mediation prior to scheduling added court hearings.

Mediation is only going to work when both spouses are receptive to negotiating the conditions of the divorce. Usually, you will plan an initial meeting among the spouses and the mediator. Throughout the first meeting, each of the spouses are going to have the chance to detail expectations for the most common divorce-related matters, which include:

  • division of property
  • child custody and visitation rights
  • child support, and
  • alimony or spousal maintenance

This initial discussion is going to help the mediator get an idea of where you both are and what areas should get the most work.

Apart from statutory limitations through divorce, mediation does not have a deadline. You are able to keep mediating and working on your divorce judgment as long as you, your spouse, and your mediator want to. Obviously, the longer it will take, and the more meetings happen, the more costly it becomes. You can choose to get together once a week, monthly, or any other time you wish. A lot of couples could resolve mediation with a couple of sessions, that usually costs 1000’s of dollars less than taking you case to court.

Once you come to an agreement on all the ongoing issues, the mediator is going to draft a divorce settlement agreement for each spouse (and their attorneys) to examine, sign, and submit it to the judge.

Is Divorce Mediation Going to Work for Me?

For many couples, working alongside your spouse and a mediator could be just what you need to get a divorce with as little disagreement as possible. However, mediation is only going to work if you and your spouse are in agreement. You are more likely to have a constructive mediation when all or a lot of the below statements are true.

You and Your Spouse Agree to Divorce

Although what we see on TV—or what we usually hear from friends or family members—not all divorces are argumentative. In many cases, the choice to get divorced is shared. When you both agree that your marriage is over, you may file a petition for divorce with one another or, one spouse could file with the other’s acknowledgment. When you’re both in agreement, it’s usually easier to negotiate and work with one another to find a resolution for any unsettled divorce matters in mediation.

There Isn’t History of Domestic Violence

Alongside divorce mediation comes the requirement for ongoing meetings involving each of the spouses, the mediator, and maybe attorneys. When you both have a history of domestic violence, a lot of mediators will not take your case on since it’s challenging to have both spouses according to plan, and it’s hard for the mediator to establish if the victim agrees to the settlement for reasons of fear or coercion from their abuser. In the states that have a requirement for mediation, if you can prove a history of domestic violence, the court is going to excuse you from the mandated sessions.

Each of the Spouses Are Truthful About Finances

One of the most convoluted elements of divorces is the finances. Each spouse needs to be willing to present the other (and you mediator) with detailed information, comprising of documents associated to financial institution accounts, retirement, pensions, stocks/bonds, and every other assets and debts. In a lot of marriages, it’s typical for one spouse to be more familiarized with the family’s assets and responsibilities than the other. When you don’t have all the associated financial details, you’ll have to investigate and comprehend your marital estate prior to you agreeing on a suggested property settlement.

You Agree on Custody Terms

Along with finances, child custody and visitation might be the most difficult facet of divorces. Many parents can put their aside differences aside for the sake of the children, but occasionally even the well-intentioned are fraught with complications.

Divorce mediation is an ideal way to work with the other parent to choose who should care for the children on a daily basis, who is going to be responsible in for paying child support, and the kind and amount of visitation with the non custodial parent.

There is no doubt that parents know what is best for their children, and the best way to guarantee that your judgment of divorce safeguards the best interest of your children is to negotiate the conditions for custody with your spouse. When you talk about custody and hit a hurdle, your mediator might be able to provide advice or recommendations on how to resolve the matter without involving the court.

When you both can’t come to an agreement concerning custody, particularly if there are allegations of abuse or neglect, the court will have to be involved. The court will try to establish what arrangement is in the best interests of your children by utilizing your state’s custody process prior to the judge making a final decision.


  1. Melissa Heinig, A. (2018, August 14). Will divorce mediation work for you? Retrieved March 29, 2021, from

Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer in Arizona

Regardless of the choice you make, it’s important you make the best choice for you when hiring a divorce attorney. Remember: The decisions you make now can affect your future. Ultimately, choosing the best lawyer will depend on which lawyer feels best for you and your situation.

If you want to learn about Michelle N. Ogborne and see if she is the right attorney to represent you in your collaborative divorce in Arizona, contact us today!

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