Divorce Mediation Attorney in Danbury CT

In divorce mediation, the mediator narrows issues and facilitates communication for brainstorming and option building on all issues necessary in a divorce, such as child custody, child support, division of assets and debts, alimony and a parenting plan. The mediator facilitates communication between the parties by identifying issues, reducing obstacles to communication, and exploring alternatives. The mediator also helps a couple reduce the agreement to a written Marital Settlement Agreement. There are many benefits of divorce mediation.

Should We Each Consult A Divorce Attorney?

It is recommended that prior to signing the settlement agreement that the parties consult separately with a divorce mediation attorney who can advise them on their respective rights and obligations. If the parties do not reach an agreement in mediation, the case will proceed as a contested matter. Then if there is no subsequent agreement entered at a later time, the case will be presented to a judge and that judge will make the ultimate determinations. Many of my mediation clients begin the process before an action for divorce or separation is even started through the court system. This allows for more flexibility in decision making timeframe because once the legal process is begun, the parties will be required to adhere to court-set deadlines. The mediator can also assist the parties in filing all of the court documents necessary to commence and finalize the separation or divorce.

Cause For Separation Or Divorce

In Connecticut cases for separation or divorce if there are issues surrounding custody and parenting that are not resolved, the court will order a referral to the Family Relations Division of the court where mediation services are available. The mediation process will then proceed on a limited basis with a Family Relations Officer. There is no additional cost involved in this process in Connecticut. The best way to approach mediation is with the commitment to participate meaningfully in the negotiations. Be honest with one another, respectful of each other’s opinions and positions and listen to proposed options.  Communicate in a forthright manner and focus on what is fair and equitable in financial matters as well as custody and parenting issues. Although you may be unhappy with the prospect of divorcing and the associated pain and emotional upheaval, small steps of agreement and reaching an consensus can be important for your well being.

What Should I Do To Prepare For A Divorce Mediator?

Prior to beginning mediation, compile a list of important issues. Your legal rights and obligations can be discussed by consulting with a divorce mediation attorney before and during the mediation process. Make a list of assets and debts, whether owned or incurred by you, your spouse or jointly with another person, income sources, and life and medical insurance. If you have questions with regard to these areas that you cannot answer or would like to have more information from your spouse on, let the mediator know. Don’t worry if you’ve left something out initially because your mediator will guide you through the process.

For couples focused on the best outcome for their children and the children’s best interests reaching a custody and parenting agreement will be much less difficult. Where the divorce or separation process has created anger and hostility, the challenge is greater but the compelling issues remains the same. How do each of you envision the parenting plan and a two home environment for the children? How can you make the situation work best for the children to grow and develop while maintaining and nurturing the love and affection that the children have for both parents.

What Are The Rues Of Divorce Mediation?

There are no absolute rules regarding how to conduct mediation and it is a flexible process. While it is commonly attended by each of the parties and the mediator, that attendance can occur while all three parties are in the same room or otherwise. I have had successful mediations through telephone conferencing and today with various technology modes there are several options.

However, in a domestic violence situation, mediation is not the right path for you. If you are intimidated and will likely be coerced into agreeing to terms that are not in your best interests, then no fair agreement can be reached and you do not have a voice. It may also be dangerous for you to be in close proximity to an abusive spouse. In these circumstances you should have independent legal representation.

Does Mediation Cover Child Custody & Child Support Issues?

In mediation, custody and parenting issues arise if there are minor children. Determining how a family will parent the children should be done by the parents and not the children. While you may desire to have the children’s preferences known and discussed in the mediation, the children do not usually attend or determine the outcome. Keep in mind that mediation is not family counseling. If you are a couple with a high level of conflict, where limited communication and hostility are prevalent, we may decide to involve a therapist or other mental health professional to help us achieve a satisfactory result.  The main focus should be on the children and your family unit’s health.

Judith Goldberg, Attorney & Mediator.   Connect With Judith