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How does divorce mediation work?

During the marriage, you or your spouse may have made the important family decisions. Or you made certain decisions, and your spouse made others. For example, one of you made decisions about the children and the other made financial decisions. In mediation, the parties make the decisions on divorce issues together. Each spouse explains what he or she wants and why. The mediator uses his or her training to see that both spouses participate in the process. The mediator encourages focusing on the future. The goal is to satisfy the needs of each spouse. (Another method using trained professionals to assist joint decision-making is collaborative practice.)

Mediation requires full disclosure of financial information, so that both spouses can participate in decisions about support, alimony, and property division. Each spouse must be willing to make this disclosure and then must be willing to speak up about his or her needs.

Couples referred to mediation by the court have, by definition, filed for divorce before reaching an agreement. However, most other mediation clients choose to agree first, then file.

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