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The role of mediation in divorce

Couples in Connecticut who are divorcing may benefit by using mediation. Mediation can also be mandated by a court. In both cases, it is a way for a third party to work with couples in order to come to agreements about topics like child custody, asset division and other issues.

Mediation has a number of advantages. It may be less expensive and keep relations between divorcing couples more civil than in the case of litigation. This may be particularly advantageous if there are negotiations regarding children.

Divorce mediation often begins with what is known as a general caucus in which all parties meet together. However, if negotiations break down, this does not spell an end for mediation. In such a case, the mediators can separate the participants for what is known as a private caucus and move between the two.

If an agreement is not reached at the end of a single mediation session, it does not mean the mediation was a failure. Rather, the parties can meet for another mediation session. If they reach an agreement, it can be put into writing and signed. Parties who cannot reach an agreement may eventually move on to litigation.

Individuals may decide to use mediation if they cannot resolve their differences regarding child custody. For example, they might be in disagreement over how often the child moves between their homes and how to split up holidays with the child. During mediation, they may agree that it is best for the child to spend weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other. They may also agree that they will alternate the years the child spends Christmas with each of them. They can then sign an agreement, and in doing so, they can avoid the time, expense and stress of going to court.

Source: Findlaw, "Divorce Mediation - Overview", November 19, 2014

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