A neutral, attorney Mediator facilitates conversations between you to help you arrive at a divorce agreement about how you will share your assets and debts, spousal and child support, and how you will share time and expenses related to your children. An Attorney Mediator can inform you about the law, but as a neutral professional cannot give either of you legal advice or clarify what is or is not in your best interest. Because of this, most Mediators recommend that you each consult with a “mediation-friendly” Attorney Mediator before agreeing to specific matters during the mediation. A “mediation-friendly” Consulting Attorney is one who:
- Looks out for your best interests,
- Is skilled at working collaboratively with other attorneys and professionals, while also
- Actively supporting your efforts to mediate and avoid the significant emotional and financial costs associated with court.
Co-Mediation & Team Mediation
If a couple chooses to Mediate, the primary mediator is always one of our Family Law Attorneys. Because this Mediator is also collaboratively trained, expect your Mediator to ask you to call in a Communication Coach or Financial Specialist at an additional cost, as needed, to ensure you get to the Mediated Divorce finish line, without going to court.
Depending on your needs, when only one collaboratively trained professional is called in, that professional is said to “Co-Mediate.”
A Team Mediation may be needed if more professionals are called to help contain conflict, assess the specific needs of children, consider specific financial matters, make sure you both can qualify for loans, or to get comps on real estate, for example. These professionals are likely to participate on an as-needed basis – it may be one time, or more depending on your skill and ability to get to the finish line on your own, while still avoiding court. A Team Mediation short-cuts many of the protocols and unique services provided in a Collaborative Divorce [link to that page].
Parenting Plan Mediation
For couples with children, all of DCOP’s Mental Health Professionals are trained to mediate a Parenting Plan (formerly referred to as “custody agreement”), which tends to educate parents as well as provide much greater detail regarding the specific developmental needs and concerns of children and related options as children mature. This Parenting Plan is then formalized and incorporated by the Attorney Mediator in your final divorce agreement submitted to the Court. Ask any of our Mental Health Professionals for a copy so that you can do as much as possible on your own.