Mediation is a method of negotiating an agreement between two parties in a dispute. It is one of the most commonly used methods of reaching terms in a divorce, or in some other family-related dispute that reaches the courts.
In such cases, a neutral third party is agreed to by the two opposing sides. In divorce proceedings this third party, called a mediator, meets with the two sides to identify and discuss the issues relating to the divorce, and reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides. It is not up to the mediator, but to the two parties involved in the divorce, to make the decisions. Instead, the mediator tries to facilitate an agreement that is best for everyone who is involved.
Some of the most common issues that a mediator attempts to resolve in a divorce include the distribution of property, child custody and parenting time, child support and maintenance, and an equitable disbursement of finances, such as retirement plans.
Sometimes agreements in these matters are reached easily and amicably, while other times the negotiations can become quite contentious and involve a lot of work. It is assumed at the outset that both parties are working in good faith, but that does not always turn out to be the case. When an agreement is becoming difficult to reach, it is up to the mediator to intervene and try to establish clear lines of communication.
Theresa Beatty is a mediator who handles family and divorce cases in LaGrange, Georgia. She conducts family and divorce mediations, prepares child support guidelines, parenting plans, and Memorandums of Understanding that are presented to the judges as the basis for divorce agreements.