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Divorce can be long and expensive if spouses battle in court over child custody, the division of their belongings, and/or child support and spousal support (alimony). 

In many cases, a neutral, experienced divorce mediator can help the spouses reach an agreement on some or all of these issues, reducing the time and expense of court proceedings.  In a typical mediation proceeding, each party consults separately with the mediator, and then the mediator brings both spouses together to craft a compromise agreement, which the spouses then sign.

Although the speed and convenience of mediation can lead someone to decide they can represent themselves without getting their own attorney, this is not always a good idea.

A mediator, even if licensed as an attorney, does not function as a “shared” divorce lawyer. 

What’s Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third party, known as the mediator, helps parties in conflict to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute. The process of mediation typically follows a structured framework, although it can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the dispute and the preferences of the parties involved.

The mediator does not represent either spouse, or give either spouse legal advice.  The resulting agreement may not benefit both spouses equally.  A spouse who has hired a divorce attorney to advise them beforehand, or help them at the mediation, or review the final mediation agreement before it is signed, may have a distinct advantage in obtaining favorable divorce terms for themselves.

If you go through divorce mediation without a lawyer and then later have problems collecting alimony or child support, or obtaining valuable personal property that was supposed to be yours under the final agreement, you may find you no longer have the cooperation of your ex-spouse. At that point, you will probably need a lawyer to assist you.

Unfortunately, though, the lawyer will be stuck with your divorce mediation agreement, including any legal pitfalls in the agreement that you were not aware of when you signed it.

If you instead have an experienced lawyer advising you throughout the mediation, and making sure the final terms are favorable to you, you are much more likely to end up with an agreement that protects your children, property, and future financial security.

A Brief Overview of The Mediation Process

It’s important to note that the mediation process is voluntary, confidential, and non-binding, meaning that the parties have the flexibility to withdraw from the process at any time and are not obligated to accept any proposed settlement unless they voluntarily agree to it.

Opening Statements: The mediation session begins with an introduction from the mediator, who explains the purpose and ground rules of the mediation process. Each party may have the opportunity to make an opening statement, during which they can summarize their perspective on the dispute and express their goals and desired outcomes.

Joint Discussion: The mediator facilitates a joint discussion in which both parties have the opportunity to present their viewpoints and discuss the issues in the presence of each other. The mediator may ask clarifying questions to gain a better understanding of the underlying interests and concerns of each party.

Private Sessions (Caucuses): Throughout the mediation process, the mediator may conduct private sessions, or caucuses, with each party separately. During these private sessions, the mediator can explore potential settlement options, discuss confidential information, and provide guidance and assistance tailored to the needs of each party.

Problem-Solving and Negotiation: The mediator assists the parties in identifying common ground and exploring potential solutions to the issues in dispute. They may facilitate brainstorming sessions, propose creative problem-solving techniques, and encourage open communication and collaboration between the parties.

Negotiation and Agreement: As the mediation progresses, the parties engage in negotiation to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. The mediator may help the parties to generate and evaluate settlement options, facilitate the exchange of offers and counteroffers, and work towards finding common ground on key issues.

Drafting the Agreement: If the parties reach a settlement agreement, the mediator may assist them in drafting the terms of the agreement. The agreement typically outlines the terms of the resolution, including any actions or commitments agreed upon by the parties, and is signed by all parties involved.

Closure and Follow-Up: Once an agreement is reached and finalized, the mediator may provide closure by summarizing the key points of the agreement and confirming the parties’ understanding and acceptance. The mediator may also discuss follow-up steps, such as implementing the agreement and addressing any remaining issues or concerns.


Divorce is a serious legal matter that can affect you for years, and an experienced divorce attorney is a worthy investment.

If you are considering a divorce or are in the process of divorce and need a good divorce lawyer, meet with one of the knowledgeable divorce attorneys at Minella Law Group, and let us protect your long-term interests.  We can represent you before or during a divorce mediation, or in any other type of divorce proceeding.

Please call Minella Law Group today at (619) 289-7948 to schedule a free consultation.