An Uncontested Divorce is one in which the parties decide to reach the terms of their divorce without going to trial. Generally, this means that the parties work to resolve all issues relating to, among others, child custody, child support, maintenance, and equitable distribution of property. The parties come to terms that are then included in a written document to submit to the Court.
So how can a Mediator help in this process? A mediator helps to facilitate the process. The Mediator, acting as a neutral third party, raises in the mediation session the issues that must be addressed and works with the parties to come to agreement on these issues. The terms of the agreements reached are then subscribed to writing.
The Mediator will discuss with the parties items including without limitation (a) a parenting plan, (b) how much child support will be paid, (c) how add-on expenses/ extra-curricular activities for the children will be shared, (d) will their be any maintenance paid, (e) will the house be sold, (f) what happens with the parties’ pensions, (f) is there life insurance or should this be purchased and who will be the beneficiary, (g) how will the parties file their tax returns, (h) who is responsible for health insurance, (i) how will the parties’ debts be allocated, (j) can the parties relocate, (k) how will stocks and bank accounts be split, etc.
The Mediator does not represent either of the parties. And the parties are encouraged to have their own attorneys to assist them and guide them with understanding the law and reviewing any agreement reached. The parties, generally, do not have their separate attorneys’ attend the mediation sessions. While mediation generally results in the parties filing for an uncontested divorce, the issues to be resolved may be very much contested during the mediation sessions.
Once the terms are agreed upon, if both parties agree, the mediator can prepare the necessary documents to file for an uncontested divorce.
An uncontested divorce upon agreement is a much quicker and cost effective means to obtaining a divorce. The mediation process also offers the parties a more creative approach to divorce.