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What is "Normal" in Divorce Mediation?

For anyone going through divorce for the first time, it is the unknown. As a divorce mediator, I get a lot of questions about what other couples do or what is considered “normal.” This is always very interesting for me, as we deal with so many different people from all walks of life. In fact, we have never had two cases that are exactly alike. Sure, a divorce mediator is often dealing with the same subject matter, such as property division, debt division, child custody, child support, and spousal support, but the facts never present themselves in exactly the same way. Every couple is very unique, with a very different set of emotional circumstances. Therefore, there really is no “normal” when it comes to divorce mediation.

In the absence of a set standard for what others do, we create a customized settlement for the couple involved in the divorce mediation process. Of course, the starting point is always what the law says. The couple must receive some information prior to making decisions. It is also possible that need to consult with their attorney, accountant, or financial advisor prior to making any major decisions. At the end of the day, our goal is always to create a settlement that works for them. Part of creating a customized settlement means that the divorce mediator must understand what the couple’s underlying interests are. Sometimes, the couple’s interests are purely financial. Divorce tends to cause people to worry about their financial security, which must always be addressed at some point during the mediation process. Other couples also have emotional concerns. They care for the well being of one another (despite the divorce), and of their minor children. In these cases, we may address things a judge would not consider such as college planning or when it is best to separate households.

No matter what your concerns are, your divorce mediator will be there to listen and help address them in a respectful manner. In divorce mediation, you still get to cover all of the issues a judge would address as discussed above. However, the manner in which these issues are addressed is very different. Your divorce mediator has the time to listen to what is important to you, instead of hearing a condensed version of the facts that are presented by each person’s attorney. You have a safe, respectful environment where you can be heard and make informed decisions.

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