There are two options:
1. Go to mediation prior to filing for divorce and to attend without attorneys. This may be a choice for a short term marriage with fewer assets. The mediator does not prepare the divorce pleadings but does prepare an agreement that the parties can provide to their attorneys.
2. After one party files for divorce the parties meet with a mediator . Sessions may include attorneys or to save money the attorneys are conferred when needed or when a party wants more information on their legal rights .There may be fewer court appearances and a significant cost savings . This is a good choice for fairly reasonable individuals ,with assets and some parenting issues to be resolved.
The goal of either mediation is to address issues and come to a resolution that is appropriate for the parties . The result is less litigation, filing of pleadings and reduces the highly charged emotional battle and the toll it takes on a family.
In my opinion alternative dispute resolution will become much more in favor with family law cases for parties who want to retain some control over the process, will have an ongoing relationship co-parenting and wish to preserve the marital estate.
Michele Kelly has completed a 40-hour course on Domestic Relations Mediation and an 8-hour course in Domestic Violence Screening. Ms. Kelly has 28 years experience in family law and is available for mediation of divorce, paternity, custody and parenting issues.