Monday, March 7, 2011


Many jurisdictions require completion of mediation before a final hearing on the merits.  If there is a history of violence between the parties, mediation may not be feasible.  Absent domestic violence, mediation is an effective tool in divorce and family law practice.  Most cases filed are settled through mediation.

Unfortunately, one or both parties may be too angry to participate in the mediation.  Please understand that BOTH parties have to be willing to resolve their issues.  You cannot force someone to mediate. 

However, reaching an agreement may present a win-win situation.  You won’t have to deal with the stress of a trial, and it is less expensive than going to trial.  So, talk to your attorney about mediation. 

  • Have your attorney educate you on mediation.
  • Be open to it.
  • Consult your attorney about the case outline and inquire into the other party’s position on facts and legal issues.
  • Write out an outline of your major issues.
  • Gather updated financial information, such as the financial affidavit and provide updated financial documents, i.e. most recent paystubs.
  • Have a mediation notebook prepared with documentation supporting the value of each major asset or liability. 
  • Have an idea of what kind of custody/child access schedule you’ve had in place or the schedule that you would like to have.
  • Bring in any prior written agreements on any of the issues.
Again, keep an open mind.  Mediation is quite helpful.  It opens up communication between the parties and can set a tone of cooperation and resolving current and future disputes. 

If you do not have attorney involvement and can reach an agreement on your own, make sure it is reduced to writing and signed by both of you. 

Legal Disclaimer:   The informational content presented in my blog should not be used as a resource or considered legal advice.  These are my thoughts, and you should seek advice from a divorce and family law professional in the state where you reside.