How Does Divorce Mediation and Custody Mediation Work

"Tell me about mediation - how does it work?"

This is a common question asked my clients. So, I thought it timely to give some additional information about Divorce Mediation & Custody Mediation.

DIVORCE MEDIATION - KEY ELEMENTS

  • Couple works directly with the Mediator
  • Couple works with the Mediator to resolve all issues involved in the divorce, including equitable distribution, support/alimony and custody issues
  • The Mediator, if they are an attorney, does NOT represent either of the parties in the Mediation
  • There is no attorney-client relationship with the Mediator and the couple
  • The Mediator prepares a document called a "Memorandum of Understanding" which documents all the decisions made regarding equitable distribution, support/alimony and custody issues at the end of the Mediation process
  • The Mediator works with the couple to decide who will be the Plaintiff and who will be the Defendant in the Divorce action filed in the Court
  • The Mediator works with the couple to decide whose attorney will draft the Divorce Pleadings to be filed with the Court and whose attorney will draft the "Marital Settlement Agreement"
  • The couple then takes the prepared "Memorandum of Understanding" to their individual attorneys and the "Memorandum of Understanding" is reviewed by each party's chosen attorney
  • There is an attorney-client relationship with the individual attorneys
  • The individual attorneys then prepare the Divorce Pleadings to be filed with the Court and the "Marital Settlement Agreement"
  • The "Marital Settlement Agreement" incorporates the decisions reflected in the "Memorandum of Understanding"
  • The amount of time spent meeting with the individual attorneys and the drafting of the "Marital Settlement Agreement" and the Divorce Pleadings is not excessive by any means.

CUSTODY MEDIATION - KEY ELEMENTS

  • All of the above points are the same for Custody Mediations, done as part of the Divorce, with the following noted exceptions:
  • A Parenting Plan, not a "Memorandum of Understanding" is generated by the Mediator for the custody issues