When filing for divorce, it is not necessary to go straight to court. Instead, some parties elect to consult with a divorce mediator and seek to resolve their differences in a cooperative manner. A divorce mediator is a lawyer or another professional who acts as a neutral, third party and works with both parties to develop mutually agreed upon terms of a divorce.
As a neutral party, a NH divorce mediator seeks to ensure a fair process with equal participation and full disclosure. Mediation can sometimes take as few as one or two meetings, but generally takes more. The length of the sessions varies depending upon the complexity of the issues involved. These sessions are generally held with both parties present. There may be times in the process that the mediator meets with one spouse or the other alone, but that depends upon the specifics of each case.
A divorce mediator should not offer legal advice, and although mediation does not happen in a courtroom, each party is still entitled to have an attorney advise him or her during mediation. Couples who choose to divorce through mediation are also encouraged to hire a lawyer to provide legal advice and review and help explain options, and to review the mediated agreement. Mediation is generally less expensive in New Hampshire than litigation, and may be the most cost-effective way to reach a settlement.
During meetings with a mediator, the parties review all issues relevant to the matter and address all the issues required in a Final Decree and Parenting Plan. Those issues may include but are not limited to the following: division of assets and debts, parenting issues, spousal and child support. During the meetings, the mediator will review financial information, parenting information, and other pertinent information to address a complete resolution of the disputed issues. Each party will have an opportunity to comment on the information provided and each party should work with the mediator to help structure an agreement. Mediation provides the parties with an opportunity to create a good working relationship and/or to improve communication.
Each divorce mediation agreement will look different, as no two couples are identical. But when reviewing these topics, a mediator will look at living expenses, health insurance, the amount of money that will be provided to the spouse or to support a child, how a home mortgage will be split, how debts will be divided, and how lines of credit will be allocated. The decisions regarding debt and lines of credit can be especially important when considering future purchases, including the ability to buy a house.
If, after meeting with the mediator, the parties are unable to reach agreement, either party can still proceed to court for resolution.
If you’re considering divorce in New Hampshire, please don’t hesitate to contact the experienced New Hampshire divorce lawyers at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. Our experience in mediation and in the courtroom can help you navigate your divorce successfully. Call Tenn And Tenn, P.A. at 1.888.511.1010.