By Ullian Associates of The Law Firm of Ullian & Associates, P.C. on September 3, 2019
Divorce mediation is not as common as the traditional divorce process, so it may be a new concept to you. During your initial mediation consultation with your mediator, you will discuss your situation and go over the process of mediation. Every mediator handles his or her sessions differently so you should ask how often you will meeting, how long the sessions last, if you all meet together or separately, and what information and documents are needed. If you decide to pursue mediation, then at your first session both spouses and the mediator will sit down together. The Mediator will go over the issues in more detail to determine which matters are contested. Depending on your situation, you may go over your division of assets and liabilities, child support, custody, parenting plan, alimony, health and life insurance coverage, and tax consequences.
You will likely meet weekly or every two weeks to discuss these matters and attempt to negotiate an agreement. Once all the issues have been resolved, the mediator will draft a Separation Agreement (which is the same as a Divorce Agreement). The Separation Agreement is a lengthy document that outlines your resolution with your legal and financial obligations. At this point you and your spouse can each have the Agreement reviewed by an accountant or attorney if you desire. Once everyone accepts the Agreement, you will execute it, and bring it to the Probate and Family Court for your county to be filed along with other forms required by the Court.
You will be assigned a hearing in front of a judge. The mediator does not go with you to this hearing as the mediator was not the attorney for either of you. At this hearing the judge will review the Separation Agreement and Financial Statements, and ask you questions to verify you read the agreement, you understand your rights, and then hopefully make a determination that the Agreement is fair and reasonable and grant your divorce, which becomes final in 120 days.