Dealing with the thought of divorce is stressful enough for Connecticut couples. Having to battle it out in a courtroom is even more nerve-wracking. Fortunately, couples have the option of negotiating and settling on important issues through divorce mediation.
Couples have several models from which to choose when considering whether mediation is appropriate. One model is for them to attend sessions with the mediator on their own and to bring in counsel at the end to review the agreement. Another model is to have counsel coaching through mediation but not necessarily attending mediation sessions, and to ultimately utilize that counsel as review counsel as well. A third model is to hire a mediator, usually for a day, and to appear at mediation with counsel, the objective being to settle the case by the end of the mediation session. This usually occurs within the context of litigation when both parties decide they are ready to settle their case.
Our attorneys at Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC have participated in all forms of mediation, as mediator, review counsel, coach and litigation counsel. We tailor the situation to the circumstances of each case and have met with a high degree of success. Mediation is not appropriate in all cases and many couples decide not to choose mediation for various reasons. We are able to advise as to the efficacy of mediation in each matter, as mediation is not for everyone. On the other hand, sometimes divorce mediation can work well for even the most complicated cases.
A benefit of mediation is that it allows couples to decide on issues such as child custody, property division and alimony on their own without a judge. This process can be a win-win because it saves time and money, while also allowing couples to work toward a resolution. A common reason why couples forego mediation is because they never agreed on anything while they were married, so why would mediation be any different? Divorce can bring out strong emotions, but sometimes people calm down and are amicable with each other in order to avoid litigation. Litigation can mean more time, stress and money – things that most divorcing couples want to avoid.
Many people are scared to go through with mediation because they feel they are the weaker party and don’t want the stronger-willed spouse to take advantage of them. This may be a valid reason forego mediation. On the other hand, a skilled mediator who oversees the process will not allow one spouse to dominate the discussions. The mediator will stop the process and make sure the weaker party gets heard.
Note that while mediation can solve a variety of divorce issues, it’s never a substitute for legal advice. Couples who have gone through the mediation process without counsel should at least have counsel review any agreements before signing.