Will our Mediator attend our court hearings?
A Mediator is a neutral third party who cannot attend any Court hearing with you or advise you or take your side.
Do we also have an attorney? Do we each have our own attorney, too?
Mediation does not require that spouses have their own separate attorneys, but they may opt to consult with one who can help them formulate their ideas going into mediation and assist them separately with gathering and understanding financial and other information.
Who else will be at the mediation meetings?
A mediating couple may hire a neutral party to perform a specific task that does not involve the couple, such as an appraiser to appraise their home.
The mediating couple may also need or find invaluable other third party neutrals such as a financial specialist or a child specialist. It may be particularly important to have a third party neutral in addition to the lawyer mediator to level the mediation field, especially where one party has less experience, knowledge or confidence than the other party regarding particular issues.
A financial specialist can appraise a business or a pension account, she can provide guidance on division of income in conjunction with assessment of both parties' budgets for themselves and their children and he can provide observations on tax matters and planning.
A child specialist is trained in child development and in working with families. The child specialist will be able to listen to your child's concerns if you wish, even a child who is in college or older. There is dedicated time for you to focus specifically on the critical and lasting decisions you make concerning your children and how they adapt to their evolving relationship with you as parents and with themselves and their world as they grow up.
Where you are both comfortable and clear with decision making in all facets of the dissolution of your marriage, you may not require another third party neutral. Be prepared, though, for one of you to articulate a need or desire for a financial neutral or a child specialist. Mediation is a process of good faith and of acknowledging the other's needs to be able to reach a mutual and knowledgeable agreement.