Successfully Employing Mediation to Settle Issues in Your Divorce

Couples going through divorce may consider mediation as one method to transverse through the dissolution of their marriage with less acrimony and potentially at lower cost to the divorcing couple.

Mitchell Reichman

Mitchell Reichman

September 20, 2023 02:58 PM

Getting divorced can be both emotionally exhausting and financially devastating. Couples may consider mediation as one method to transverse through the dissolution of their marriage with less acrimony and potentially at lower cost to the divorcing couple.

We often attempt to resolve divorce cases through mediation and in most cases we achieve that goal. Generally, there are strategies that help increase the probability of not only a successful mediated resolution but also a fair result.

Strategies for Successful Divorce Mediation

Prior to commencing the mediation, there needs to be complete disclosure of all relevant information. Some assets may need to be valued or appraised by independent third parties having the proper expertise. Any appraisals or valuation reports need to be disclosed and exchanged and in some cases having the valuation or appraisal completed by an independent third party prior to the mediation is extremely helpful. Both parties need to agree on certain components of the valuation methodology or each party should obtain his or her own independent valuation.

Often some of the less contested issues are resolved prior to mediation, leaving the mediator with the more difficult issues. Taking some of the less contentious items off the table will allow the mediator to focus on the important issues – and generally – will save both parties money in legal fees. It is important to exchange at least a written list of the issues that need to be resolved prior the mediation so that they may be incorporated into the settlement document.

Knowing what issues are left open will determine what mediator is selected. For example, some mediators are particularly adept at helping to resolve financial issues while others are better at issues relating to custody or parenting time. Very complex financial issues will require a mediator that is well versed in business and property valuations.

Role of Attorneys in Mediation

In our cases, both parties are represented by lawyers throughout the process, including all meetings with the mediator. However, in mediation, there is no requirement that either party have their own attorney. It is standard practice for both parties to share the cost of hiring the mediator and all of the mediator’s fees. Typically, cases that are resolved take one full day or less of mediation. Either the mediator or one of the attorneys prepares a settlement document.

While the steps outlined above are often the most cost effective approach to mediation, there are parties who approach the mediation process differently. They start in mediation before any disclosure has occurred or valuations agreed upon. Their expectations are that the mediator will direct what needs to be disclosed – similar to what a judge might direct divorcing parties to do. They may have meetings with the mediator without lawyers or again, only one party may have an attorney. Typically, there are several meetings to gather and exchange information before there is a possibility of resolution. Because of the increased amount of time that the mediator is spending, this approach to mediation is usually more expensive.

Before you consider mediation, determine which method is best for you and whether or not you want an attorney to represent you and your interests. The contested issues need to be defined so that the mediator selected will have the requisite expertise. If your divorce is acrimionious and contentious, mediation may not be a viable solution. On the other hand, if both parties are prepared to make reasonable, or even difficult, compromises mediation can be a win/win solution.

Trending Articles

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

Best Lawyers Expands 2024 Brazilian Awards

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is honored to announce the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Brazil™ and the first edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Brazil™.

Image of Brazil city and water from sky

The Best Lawyers in Mexico Celebrates a Milestone Year

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in Mexico™ and the second edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Mexico™ for 2024.

Sky view of Mexico city scape

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power

by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide

by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide is now live and includes recognitions for all Best Lawyers family law awards. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Man entering home and hugging two children in doorway

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025

by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

The Best Lawyers in Singapore™ 2025 Edition

by Best Lawyers

For 2025, Best Lawyers presents the most esteemed awards for lawyers and law firms in Singapore.

Singapore flag over outline of country

Canada Makes First Foray Into AI Regulation

by Sara Collin

As Artificial Intelligence continues to rise in use and popularity, many countries are working to ensure proper regulation. Canada has just made its first foray into AI regulation.

People standing in front of large, green pixelated image of buildings

Commingling Assets

by Tamires M. Oliveira

Commingling alone does not automatically turn an otherwise immune asset into an asset subject to marital distribution as explained by one family law lawyer.

Toy house and figure of married couple standing on stacks of coins

How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers breaks down the key differences between consultation and retainer fees when hiring an attorney, a crucial first step in the legal process.

Client consulting with lawyer wearing a suit

The Hague Convention and International Custody Battles

by Alexandra Goldstein

One family law lawyer explains how Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s celebrity divorce brings The Hague Convention treaty and international child custody battles into the spotlight.

Man and woman celebrities wearing black and standing for photo

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers’ Compensation Legal Guide

by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers' Compensation Legal Guide provides exclusive access to all Best Lawyers awards in related practice areas. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Illustration of several men and women in shades of orange and teal

New York Passes 9/11 Notice Act

by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers highlights the newly enacted 9/11 Notice Act, which seeks to find individuals eligible for medical care coverage under different federal programs.

Firefighter stands with their back turned with flames in the background

Filing For Divorce in North Carolina

by Melody J. King

Family law lawyer Melody King answers some of the most important questions individuals may have about filing for divorce in North Carolina.

Illustration of man and woman on paper that has been torn apart