Eric S. Neumann, APLC
More Than 25 Years Of Family Law Experience
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Understanding how divorce mediation works

For most Louisiana couples who are contemplating a divorce, the process seems to be a long, dark and twisting tunnel. One of the most common causes of such anxiety is fear of anger. A party may fear his or her anger toward the other spouse or fear that spouse's anger. One technique for reducing or eliminating anger in the divorce process is the use of mediation. Unfortunately, many spouses in Louisiana do not understand how the process works or how it can help.

Mediation has two important characteristics. First, it is non-binding, that is, the only binding outcome is whatever agreement the two spouses can reach concerning the issues in their divorce. Second, mediation relies on the services of a neutral individual who helps the parties see areas of agreement and understand reasons for disagreement. Most couples prefer to use mediators who have been trained and certified in the various interpersonal techniques used in mediation.

Mediation involves one or more face-to-face meeting with the mediators, both parties and their attorneys. The first meeting is usually devoted to reviewing the issues that are preventing the spouses from agreeing on the terms of their divorce. The mediator may suggest solutions or point to areas of possible compromise, but both parties must agree on the solution. The mediator is not empowered to make any decisions or rulings. A mediator can be especially helpful in solving issues regarding child and spousal divorce and, if the couple has significant assets, property division.

Mediation can help couples avoid the high cost of a court trial. It can also help shield the children from the pain of witnessing parental conflict. Anyone interested in pursuing mediation may wish to consult an experienced divorce attorney for a detailed description of the process and an evaluation of whether mediation would assist the parties in resolving their various disputes.

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