Mediation helps spouses resolve their differences without going to divorce court. Divorce courts in Connecticut embrace mediation as a way for couples to create solutions that work for them. If you’re considering divorce, speak with a West Hartford mediation lawyer. At Freed Marcroft, our family attorneys believe in providing you with all options for navigating a divorce, including mediation.
What Is Mediation?
During this form of alternative dispute resolution, a neutral third party—the mediator—leads discussions between spouses, encouraging them to come to an agreement. In addition, the mediator encourages both parties to express their concerns and acknowledge the other person’s point of view.
While mediators are often lawyers, they can also be social workers, therapists, retired judges, or other professionals. In addition, mediators should have special training in staying objective, managing conflict, and helping all sides come to a mutually beneficial solution.
Mediation seeks to foster a safe and constructive conversation. Although the mediator may make suggestions, they don’t make decisions or impose their solutions on the couple—a significant distinction that sets mediation apart from litigation. For example, a mediation lawyer in West Hartford can talk to you about the pros and cons of divorcing in this way.
The Mediated Divorce Process
Mediators can assist couples who disagree about topics like property division, alimony, child support, child custody, and visitation. If the couple comes to an agreement, the mediator generally drafts a contract called a separation agreement or settlement agreement. That contract is submitted to the divorce court for review. If it is approved, the agreement and the divorce are official.
You can choose whether you want to work with a mediator before filing for divorce. If you do and can resolve all the relevant issues, you can submit your written agreement to the divorce court, along with a joint petition for a “divorce with agreement” and other required documents. A West Hartford mediation attorney from Freed Marcroft can assess whether you are eligible for an expedited divorce, which is sometimes available when spouses have no issues in contention.
When either spouse contests a divorce, the judge often requires couples to mediate before trial. This is because the judge understands the couple is in the best position to make decisions regarding their own property and children and prefers they retain responsibility for those decisions if a negotiated resolution is possible.
Work With an Attorney-Mediator
A mediation attorney is a lawyer who believes in alternative dispute resolution. Mediators seek to resolve disagreements peacefully and respectfully rather than fight them out in court.
A divorcing couple might use a mediation attorney in two ways. First, you might hire an attorney-mediator to act as the neutral party in mediation. Although non-lawyers can serve in this role, having an attorney or retired judge act as the mediator can forestall some issues. Attorney-mediators are more familiar with divorce agreements’ legal and financial implications and can help you avoid some common pitfalls.
Even when the mediator is a lawyer, they act as a neutral facilitator and do not provide legal advice. This is the second way a mediation attorney can help: Each party has their own lawyer, or “review counsel,” to assist them during mediation. These lawyers provide each spouse with legal advice and review the agreements reached in mediation. While these personal attorneys rarely sit in on mediation sessions, they are available to answer questions or provide guidance. You should have your attorney review any mediated agreement before signing it. This will help you understand it and protect you against unforeseen consequences.
A West Hartford divorce mediation lawyer from Freed Marcroft can either serve as a mediator or as review counsel.
Seek the Guidance of a West Hartford Mediation Attorney
Mediation can be an empowering process, helping spouses appreciate each other’s point of view and communicate about sensitive issues productively. Even if a marriage is ending, mediation can lay the groundwork for healthy communication in the future.
You have little to lose and much to gain by trying to resolve your disputes through mediation. Call us and schedule a consultation with a West Hartford mediation lawyer today.