If you have filed for divorce and had a meeting with an attorney, he or she may have suggested you meet with a divorce mediator. In fact, in some states a mediator is required for any contested divorce. This means that if you both do not sign the divorce papers when first filed you will need mediation. Do not think of this as a bad thing, it is actually a good idea as long as things have not gotten violent. In fact, it could keep the whole divorce a bit less stressful on you both. Here are a few things you should understand before going to the first meeting.
Mediation is Not About the Marriage
Do not be concerned that the mediator is going to try to "fix" your marriage or ask you to try to work things out. It is not a type of marriage counseling. A divorce mediator is there to help the two of you reach an agreement about the division of your marital property. He or she wants to keep things calm and as amicable as possible. If necessary, he or she will meet with you separately to try to help you come to an agreement.
Any Agreement is Legally Binding
Once you and your spouse have agreed to the terms of the divorce, even if it is something signed with the mediator, it is legal. The mediator will prepare the papers for you to sign, but these will be added to the divorce filing. Since you have both signed it, this will become the terms for the divorce by law. If you agreed to giving up the car you cannot demand your spouse allow you to use it. Do not feel that an agreement signed with the mediator can be ignored.
Keep Your Lawyer
Although it is not necessary, it is a good idea to retain the services of your lawyer. Once there is an agreement to be signed, it is a good idea to have your attorney go over it before you sign. It is important to understand that even if the mediator is a lawyer, he or she is not allowed to give you legal advice while acting as mediator.
Divorce mediation is a good way to come to an equitable and amicable end of your marriage. At a time when you are going to be stressed and emotional it is good to have someone to help keep things calm. It can be an entirely different experience than when dealing with the lawyers because the mediator is neutral about the whole thing. Your lawyer is there to get you the best deal possible, the mediator is there to make sure you can both live with the deal you sign.