The myth of the contentious, high-conflict divorce with equally high attorney fees is the stuff of cultural legend in the U.S. Divorce does not have to dissolve into a dog-eat-dog brawl. Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution model, which uses neutral third party(s) to facilitate an agreement between the spouses. In the same way that each marriage is different, mediators use their knowledge and experience to choose from the most appropriate mediation approaches or styles that suits each couple’s unique circumstances.
At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd, we have developed a way of proceeding with the mediation process that differs from “traditional” divorce mediation services offered by attorneys. However, we wanted to address the types of mediation services that may be offered, so you can have the information you need to make good decisions.
- Evaluative mediation. This most closely approximates the approach a judge would take in a divorce settlement conference. The mediator examines the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case and makes recommendations to each party on how they might improve on their weaknesses. An evaluative mediator will meet with each party and their attorney separately, they evaluate based on fairness and with concern for each party’s legal rights as opposed to what each party might need or want.
- Transformative mediation. Similar in many ways to the facilitative style of mediation, transformative mediation is based on the values and principles of empowerment and recognition. The transformative mediator creates an environment where the goal is to transform the relationship by allowing each party to view the situation from the other’s perspective.
- Facilitative mediation. This has the goal of creating an environment which allows the parties to reach an agreement between themselves. The mediator plays the role of the neutral third party asking questions and giving each party the time and space and information to come to an agreement. The mediator does not exert influence over the parties in facilitative mediation.
We offer a different, client-centered option for mediation
At Divorce Mediation Associates, what we do is similar to facilitative mediation, in that you and your spouse work together to create an agreement that works for your unique needs. However, we also offer services that traditional mediators do not. We are a multi-disciplinary practice using the skills of lawyer trained mediators and mental health trained professionals and we will utilize financial professionals when appropriate. When you work with us, you have access to a team of professionals, such as mental health professionals, and lawyers who help you resolve your differences. In some circumstances, we may also bring in a financial planner or CPA, to help you and your spouse reach the right financial solutions for your future. We also address any lingering concerns you have for your children’s wellbeing, helping you create a parenting plan that is best for the child and for you.
Mediators meet with both parties together for most purposes; we prefer team mediation, where there are two mediators present through most of the mediation – one with a mental health background and the other a lawyer. Occasionally we may conference or caucus with just one party, but that would be for very limited purposes and with full disclosure and equal time to the other spouse.
Finally, we offer our clients more creative options to handling their divorce agreements. Because your sessions are geared towards solutions that work for you in particular, we are able to think “outside the box” and help you reach an outcome that others might not have considered.
Regardless of the mediation style or approach, mediated settlements tend to be successful because the couple works together to reach a solution, with the guidance of trusted professionals. If you would like more information about divorce mediation, please call Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd. at 703-665-7592 or complete our contact form. One of our divorce mediators is ready to help you today.