Often times I am asked the questions, “When should we contact a Divorce Mediator or start the Mediation Process”? “Is it before one of us files, after one of us files”? “Is it before we hire attorneys or after”?
The simple answer to those questions, is that couples should contact a Professional Divorce Mediator once they have decided to divorce and have subsequently decided to mediate rather than litigate. That can be before either person has filed or it can be after they have filed or even after they have begun to litigate but realize that litigation is not getting them anywhere they wish to be.
As an NJ & PA Divorce Mediator, I often see couples right at the point where they have just begun the divorce process. Most of the time they come to me before they have filed and even before either one of them has retained an attorney. In my opinion, I think this works out best for the couples. They are in a place where they are in control and not working against the time clock of the courts, as in the case when one party initiates the divorce by filing.
This allows the couple plenty of time to meet with a Professional Divorce Mediator and work through all of the issues of their divorce. This is a very stressful time and by taking control of the outcome of your divorce it will alleviate a tremendous amount of stress.
In some cases, couples may come to me after they have begun the divorce process by hiring attorneys to litigate on their behalf. They find that the litigation process can be time consuming and very costly. Often times they have spent a considerable about of time and money without seeing any movement or any agreements reached. When those couples seek to mediate, they usually will come to agreement much quicker through the mediation process. Their attorneys then play a role as their legal advisors for any legal questions they may have. Just in the way that couples may seek outside advise from their accountant as it relates to tax implications of certain decisions being made during the mediation process.
Divorce is likely the most stressful time in a couples life and when there are children involved the emotions and stress tend to run deeper. The sooner a Professional Divorce Mediator is selected the easier the inevitable transition can begin and a new life begun.