Divorce Mediation – An Alternative Way Forward

When two individuals make the decision to end a marriage, navigating their way through the dissolution of the marriage can be an overwhelming, contentious, and sometimes intimidating process. For many, the parties want to try to come to an agreement before having to engage in what can be a lengthy court litigation process, or they want to dissolve the marriage without having to appear in court or go to trial.

Mediation, facilitated by a qualified neutral mediator, can help guide the parties’ discussions about the best way to end the marriage and resolve the issues, whether those issues are residential responsibility and parenting time of minor children or division of property.

Family Law/Divorce mediators are:

  • Neutral – they do not represent or advocate for/against one party or the other.
  • Confidential – the mediator cannot testify or be called as a witness for one party or the other if mediation is unsuccessful or the parties fail to reach an agreement.
  • Qualified – Mediators must have experience in family law cases and usually are, but may or may not be an attorney.
  • Must be listed on the statewide roster of qualified family law mediators.

Advantages of mediation, whether before or after filing for divorce, include:

  • Reduced conflict – parties that mediate oftentimes set up themselves for a smoother, better post-divorce relationship, especially in cases involving children. This can result in less stress on the parties’ children.
  • Less Cost and Less Time – when parties reach an agreement in mediation and have a written Marital Termination Agreement drawn up and signed, they do not have to wait to schedule court dates around the court’s calendar, their attorney’s schedules, or their own.
  • More control over the outcome and more input into the end result –
    • Parties can craft a parenting schedule and a parenting plan that is agreeable to both parties and that works best for the children, rather than having the Court make those decisions or that orders an agreeable schedule, but does not include any guidelines or expectations for the parties that can make their post-divorce co-parenting relationship work smoothly.
    • Parties can divide their assets and debts equitably in a manner that is agreeable to both parties rather than having the court possibly award property to one party that is more important to the other.
  • Less formal than court proceedings.
  • More privacy and discretion.

Attorney Lesley Foss is a qualified neutral mediator in North Dakota and is a listed as a Family Facilitative/Hybrid Mediator in Minnesota. If you would like to inquire about Attorney Foss’ mediation services, please contact her at Lesley@fremstadlaw.com or at 701-478-7620