Category Archives: Divorce Mediation

You might be going through a divorce or thinking of starting a divorce. Meditation is the least expensive, most controlled and quickest way to survive what can be a harrowing ordeal. Here is what to know:

1. A divorce can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000 or more depending on your assets and desire to fight and fight. Mediations cost about $300 per hour and are usually completed in a day and the papers cost about $1500-$2,000 to prepare and file.

2. Divorces in Arizona can last 6 to 24 months. Mediation can take a day and you can close your divorce in 60 days once you file and then finalize your terms and paperwork.

3. Judges really don’t get to know you nor can you give them lots of detail about your life. Judges need the basic facts to make basic decisions that you and your spouse cannot resolve. Most final trials take 1-3 hours. Yes, 1-3 hours to present your case and convince your judge to give you what you want and believe you deserve.

4. Judges cannot concern themselves with what a bad person your spouse is unless it impacts an issue in the case such as custody or marital waste.

5. Good mediators are usually Arizona licensed attorneys. They have to know Arizona law to help you settle.

6. Good mediators can mediatie if you have an attorney or if you do not have an attorney.

7. Attorneys who thrive on conflict instead of resolution will convince you to avoid mediation. (the longer a case lasts, the more you pay your lawyer)

8. You do not have to settle anything at a mediation that you do not want to settle.
It can either wait for another day or it could be a one issue trial. Or you could try mediation again.

9. You must know all the finances even if you mediate. The information you get is the same whether you mediate or go to court, in either circumstance. Documents are just easier to produce for a mediation.

10. Mediation is not a race, there is no rush. Settlement at mediation can mean you can avoid court. All you have to do is get your papers drafted and filed.

You might be wondering if mediation is right for you and your spouse? For starters, a mediator is a third party neutral person who can help solve disputes and resolve issues. Our mediation is focused on helping people and families going through divorce. Almost no matter your situation, we can help.
No matter what, we can help.
1. You and your spouse have been talking about divorce but are not sure about the process.
2. You and your spouse have talked about getting divorced but you do not want to hire attorneys.
3. You and your spouse have talked about getting divorced but do not know what to do about your children.
4. You and your spouse have thought about separation but are not sure.
5. You and your spouse think you want a legal separation.
6. My spouse and I talked about nesting and we don’t want to live together.
7. We cannot stand each other but we need to get divorced.
8. We are no longer talking but want to get divorced but not pay for attorneys.
9. We have two kids and have never been married but are living apart.
10. My former daughter in law will not let me see my grandkids.
11. My husband wants a divorce but we cannot afford two attorneys.
12. My wife has been cheating on me and I am done but cannot afford an attorney.
13. My husband wants a divorce and I want spousal maintenance.
14. My wife moved to Ohio so I want to divorce her.
15. My boyfriend wants to see my baby son.

Best Mediation is for almost anyone in any family law situation. We can discuss the process with both parties and let you decide if the mediation process is right for you and your spouse. If mediation does not work, you will at least be glad you gave it a try. And if it does work, it will save you a ton of money and stress. And there is also the chance that some issues will be solved, even if not every issue is solved. Some people think mediation is not quite right for them but the option of litigation is clearly not very attractive. Sometimes trying to do your own divorce is like playing basketball and calling your own fouls. If you have even played pick up basketball, that does not always work out very well. That is why there are umpires and referees. So, give us a call and find out more about our mediation and how we can help.

We believe that it is more beneficial for your decision making, solutions, and strategies in mediation if your mediator is an attorney. Our experienced mediators are all licensed attorneys who have practiced family law. Arizona attorneys know the law, know what judges are deciding and know the creative differences between what you can expect in court and how that risk and reward factors into mediation decisions. We do not give you legal advice in mediation but we can guide you about the applicable statutes and governing law. Meditations allow for creative solutions but knowledge of basic rules and law should govern your strategy to know what you are able to do in mediation that you could not do in court. Attorneys also respect the mediation process and know the downsides and expense of litigation and recognize the benefits of mediation.

Your House

For instance, in court a judge is very limited in what he or she can order for the community house if there is a dispute. Why does that matter in a mediation? It factors into the thought process because if one spouse believes that a judge will award him the house in court, he might be less likely to settle a house dispute in mediation. In fact, as practicing attorneys we know that a judge will almost always order the family home be sold and the net equity be split equally if the parties cannot decide how to divide it. If the spouses know that mediation is the only way that one of them can keep the house, they might be more likely to figure out a way to split it by one spouse buying out the other spouse or having one spouse equalize payments with other assets to “buy” the other spouse’s equity. How to split the house is a common issue in mediation and in litigated divorces.

Child Support And Parenting Agreements

Attorneys also know what a judge is likely to order with regard to child support. We regularly calculate child support according to the guidelines and know when and if the court is likely to ever deviate from the worksheet. We also know how to handle self employed parents since there are guidelines that outline all these issues. Sometimes child support is straightforward and oftentimes there are hiccups. It is important to know about the Clearinghouse and how to get paid. It is also important to know how the court will prorate extracurricular activities. Once child support is determined, it is important to be given options for parenting time schedules and how to calculate holidays and vacations. The court follows certain protocols for all of this that can either be used as a guideline or followed in mediation. But if one parent wants every Christmas, it is important to understand that a court will not allow that but instead will order that the parents share that holiday.

Division of Assets and Debts

It is important to understand the law of community property, sole and separate property, commingling and how to divide the debts. For instance, school loans obtained during the marriage are legally to be divided 50-50. That legal result in a trial seems counter intuitive. But nonetheless, that is how it is done. That does not mean that that is how it will or should be done or can be done in mediation but it is a starting point for discussion. Also, all debts are to be divided 50-50 and that is what a court will order. In a mediation, however, usually the person who is worried about the debts being paid timely will want to assume that debt and set it off from some other asset. For example, if there is a credit card debt in wife’s name alone and the husband has never handled finances. Wife might be worried about her credit and she will want to pay 100% of the debt. The credit card company will not care that the husband has been ordered to pay and they will attempt collection from the wife since the card is in her name and she is employed. The court/judge will not be able to consider all these factors usually and will just order that the law requires and order that each party is 50-50 responsible. In meditation, the spouses can decide otherwise to protect the wife’s credit and make an agreement that reflects the reality of what is going to happen with that debt.

Consequences

As practicing attorneys, we often see problems and issues that come up post divorce. We have seen problems in litigation cases that have resulted from decisions and documents that might have been able to be done more completely or differently. Because we have seen these mistakes, we are also better able to anticipate these kinds of issues and do our best to be able to prevent us from making those same mistakes. Also as practicing attorneys, we attend mediations on behalf of our clients that are involved in litigation and we have seen many mediation styles and personalities which have shaped how we conduct our mediations. We were able to take all the positives from our learning experiences of meeting retired judges and retired attorneys who conducted mediations. Now that we meet our clients without attorneys, we are very well aware of their fears, concerns, anxieties and we address them to make mediation a better experience for them.

 

 

I have heard that litigation can sometimes feel like you have jumped on a runaway train and you cannot get off. Litigation is hard, it is stressful, it takes a great deal of time and sometimes no one is happy about the outcome. So why am I talking about litigation instead of mediation? Because litigation is one of the few options available if you cannot settle or if you choose not to go to mediation. So, let’s start at the beginning. Divorce, in Arizona is litigation. One party either has to sue the other party or the spouses can now co-file all their papers in court at once. Both of these options require spouses to go to court or at least use the court system to get divorced. There is no way around that issue. But there are ways to get divorced that do not involve actually going to court, filing lots of court papers, and having the spouses testify against each other. That other way is mediation. So, you might not know or understand everything about mediation but you should recognize that your other option is litigation and it is not always a good choice.

Mediation in divorce is just a method of solving problems and resolving issues. Litigation in divorce is also just a method of solving problems and resolving issues.  In litigation, the judge decides all the disputed issues and in mediation, the spouses have the power to resolve all the disputed issues. A mediator is the person who presides over a mediation and they are a neutral third party who listens to both parties and helps them find some middle ground to make decisions on assets and children. A judge is also a neutral third party who listens to both parties in court under direct and cross examination who then makes decisions that determine how the assets and debts get divided and how the parents take care of the children. The spouses can testify how they want it but at the end of the day, the Judge makes all the decisions after a trial.

Now, if spouses begin their divorce in a typical litigation fashion, they can always attend a mediation after they have filed, even if they are in the middle of “litigation.” In fact, many judges require or recommend that spouses attend mediation before they present their case in court. Oftentimes, a judge may award attorney fees if one party refuses to attempt settlement or mediation because that may be deemed unreasonable. So, before you jump on the runaway train, consider mediation and learn about it. If you find yourself on a runaway train, get off at the next station as soon as possible and learn about mediation. You will be glad you did not ride that runaway train to the end of the line where it might just crash.

In Arizona,  the short answer is yes. How do you do it? One way is to use our mediation services to decide and divide all your assets and debts and how to parent your children. Once those issues are resolved, with the help of a mediator, you can then co-file a Summary Consent Decree. This allows you and your spouse to file all your documents at one time with the state court (in the Phoenix area, it is Maricopa County Superior Court) and then the court will calendar your matter for 60 days. Once the 60 days have passed, the papers will make their way to a Commission for signature. Once the final papers are signed, they will be mailed to each of you so you have a copy of the Divorce Decree and Property Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan if required.

One of the obvious keys to making this go fast is to get the cooperation of your spouse to decide all your issues. You can get ready to go to mediation by collecting all your information about your bank accounts, your vehicles, your retirement accounts and all your debts. If you have a house to divide, it is handy to review the deed (whose name is the house in) and the latest mortgage statement. There can be much discussion about how to divide the house and your mediator can help you with that. So, if you want to go fast, you really do have to go together.

 

 

A win-win is where both parties get what they want.  In mediation, there is actually such a way to decide some issues where both parties get what they need and get what is most important to them. About 20 years ago during one of my first divorce mediations I had my first win win.

The spouses and their attorneys came to my office after eight months of litigation not being able to settle spousal maintenance. Wife wanted a monthly amount that Husband was not willing to pay. Wife wanted to be able to live and meet her expenses for the next 5 years until she could get her social security. Husband just did not want to budge from the total amount over a period of years that he was willing to pay. So, since Wife needed more money in the first few years and Husband was willing to pay a total overall amount we drafted an agreement where Husband paid more spousal maintenance the first several years and it tapered off. So, wife was feeling secure since she could meet her expenses and Husband did not pay more than he was able to pay as a lump sum. Both parties were actually happy about the outcome and their attorneys were relieved.

It is important to know what is most important to you when going through a divorce. To some people, it is money and to others, it is the children. Some people decide to waive child support when they share the children 50-50 because that makes sense to the parties overall to be able to move on with their lives. Perhaps one parent wants to take care of the children playing ice hockey so she pays all those expenses. The other parent is really happy to take the kids to judo and wants to assume all those payments. In the end, it probably ends up about the same and the parents have reduced conflict.

What if you both have a house to figure out? One spouse might want to live in it and the other spouse does not. What if they both want to live in the house? If I was the mediator I want to know why each party wants to live in the house. Maybe it is because it is near the grandmother or the school. The other parent might want to live in it because it is a good investment. Now, with those two things in mind, one parent could live there and negotiate a deal where the other parent continues some kind of stake in the increasing value until the house sells or is refinanced. Thinking strategically helps come up with a win win.

It is important to understand that Judge rarely can consider being creative with the division of assets. So, if the house is wanted by both parties the court may just order that it be sold and the net equity split 50-50. That is more like a lose lose situation instead of a win win.

Mediation can be a creative process and address what is most important to each spouse.You have to know what you want and then discuss with the mediator about creative ways to get it. You might be surprised to know that the other side wants something entirely different which makes a win win very possible.

 

 

Don’t you just hate it when you know you made a decision and wish you hadn’t? It just happens in life. One of those decisions should be whether you try mediation to resolve your divorce. After all, what is the harm? See if this makes sense: you give it a go and it does not work. What is the harm? You lost a few hours and a few dollars but now you know what cannot be resolved and what can be resolved. And you have no guilt because you tried. So when your divorce costs $5,000 or $10,000 or more, at least you know you wanted it to be way less expensive and were willing to do it for $2,000 or $3,000 or even less.

There is no downside to trying mediation. If it fails and it rarely fails 100%, you have not really lost anything. Everything is confidential. None of what you tried in mediation can be used in court. Your meditator cannot be a witness. I have seen successful mediations even though the parties doubted it from the get go. When you are in a room with a mediator and you have time to think, time to understand the law, time to understand the risks and rewards of a trial, then maybe, just maybe you don’t need to fight so hard for the “toaster.” Yes, I am here to tell you that you might be feeling like mediation will fail because you are holding onto some item, some issue that actually is bigger than it is. What am I talking about? When couples fight over small things, it is usually related to some other issue such as a power struggle or revenge or lashing out in pain. When you are in a mediation you get to let some of those emotions out, you get to tell your story, you may even come to realize that they don’t serve you well when you are trying to move forward. In a way, mediation lets you cool down, think objectively and ask questions. It is like a time out in the process that may be moving faster than you want it to.

And, at the end of the day, if you don’t want to give up the toaster, you don’t have to. But I guarantee that if a Judge makes you give it up, you have no choice. Wouldn’t you rather be in control? Wouldn’t you rather be able to actually trade the toaster for something you do want? Or be able to keep it by trading it for something your partner wants ? You might be amazed that people don’t usually want all the same outcome. Each spouse usually has what is most important to them and it does not usually match with their spouse. That makes things easier to trade and easier to resolve.

So, give it a go. You can save time,, money and stress. If you never even try, you won’t ever know if it would have worked and you really don’t want to be telling yourself “I told you so.”

If you would like to buy your attorney a new car, fight about every single issue, stop talking to your spouse, hire an attorney who loves to fight, make sure your lawyer does not return your phone calls or respond to the other attorney with settlement offers, argue with your spouse with your lawyers as the mouthpiece, send your attorney lots and lots of emails every time you are anxious, and hire an attorney who disdains mediation out of the gate. So, are these enough ways to buy your lawyer a new car? Or…decide to go to mediation right away, save all that money, negotiate and resolve to work on all issues until they are settled. You might still have an attorney but the process will be negotiated, not ligitigated. Your experienced mediator with Best Mediation is an experienced family law (divorce) attorney but as the neutral third party, the mediator stays away from the litigation arena. So you decide: pay for a mediator and make their car payment for a month or two…or pay for an attorney to litigate everything and buy them a brand new car.

Sometimes you might feel like the Lone Ranger as you go through your divorce and you wonder how you can do it alone. After all, it took the two of you to get married and as you can imagine, it takes two of you (usually) to participate to get divorced. What if you want to go to mediation but your husband does not want to go after hearing terrible stories about his buddy’s divorce? You are not going to be able to convince him that you are correct but you might be able to convince him that he should at least listen to a mediator and think about for himself. You both need to understand that a mediator does not force you to settle. You stay in control of driving the car. The mediator is more like a football coach. The coach wants the team (you and your husband) to win/settle. The coach has to help you try and figure out strategies to make that happen. But ultimately, you have to make the plays and do the work. Mediation saves money, time, and stress and leaves you making the final decisions. So, saddle up and give it a try.

There is nothing difficult about you and your spouse deciding to go to mediation to solve your issues in a divorce. An experienced mediator will help you come to agreements about all the decisions that have to be made in a divorce. Some decisions you might obviously know you need to make but some decisions you might be unaware of. The magic of mediation comes with an experienced mediator who knows how to solve problems. Let’s pretend you both want to live in the house you own together. A creative mediator will ask enough questions to get you thinking about all the issues and finances involved with each person who thinks they want to stay in the house: can you buy out your spouse? can you afford it? are you eligible to refinance? can you afford the upkeep? is it too big? There are creative agreements that can be made about the house, you just have to brainstorm and work to figure it out. A mediator will be helpful because they know the legal issues involved and have helped solve this issue many, many times. A good mediator will work hard to find win win solutions to every issue. So, if you want to make agreements with your spouse for handling a division of the property, debts, finances, savings, retirement, investments, and children: agreement making  (mediation) is the route to choose.

 

 

I used to coach Little League Baseball. I remember this one little guy who just never seemed to follow instructions every time we practiced and I told him to “tag up.” As soon as the batter hit the fly ball, the little guy would take off from first base. When he was tagged out and came sadly trotting back to the bench I asked him why he didn’t tag up. Did you hear me tell you to tag up, I asked? Yes, I heard you, but what does “tag up” mean? How do I “tag up?’ Here I thought the little guy just wasn’t paying attention but it was me who was not paying attention. Sometimes we tell people to just go to mediation and save money. But what does mediation mean? If you don’t explain it, who knows what different people think of that word. Mediation is a process to settle disputes. In the divorce world it means that you go to a person who is experienced as a mediator and they listen to both sides of what you and your spouse want out of the divorce and help you make agreements to settle things. The other option is to go to court and let a judge decide. Start by giving us a call so we can talk more about it and answer your questions. After all, you don’t want to keep being told to “tag up” until you know what that actually means.

 

 

The other day I was chatting with an old friend about photography and he said “hey, let’s give it a whirl.” I laughed out loud and he had no idea what was so funny. Little did he know that that was one of my mom’s most memorable sayings. I never thought too much about it as a kid but now I think about it a lot. As I was thinking about trying to write about mediation and explain it to people who may not know what it is all about, I might say: “give it a whirl!” In other words: “try it, you might like it” or “give it a chance” or “you don’t know until you try it” …you get my drift. And if you don’t know anything about mediation, just give us a call. We will answer your questions and explain the process. The first step for you on this journey is to get more information so you can make an informed decision. There really is not much downside to just “give it a whirl!”

 

 

 

The last time I recall being on the dance floor some people were dancing in groups, some were dancing in couples, and one or two people were seemingly off in their own universe dancing alone. But some dances certainly take two people doing the same steps at the same time, such as the tango. So, if your spouse is willing to try mediation, you might as well give it a whirl. There is really not much to lose except a few hours and a few dollars, all of which is time and money well spent. At the end of the day, you will have more information and be better able to go through the process. My guess is that you will be able to work through all your issues.  So, if you can grab your partner and start the tango, you might find that you finish the dance feeling better than if you go to court. Dancing sounds like more fun than court any day.

 

 

 

Just so you know, the divorce process is set up by the state with statutes, procedures, rules, case law, courts, and judges. They are all involved when you file for a divorce and start the litigation process. The work flow from this list is long and costly. Every single argument is decided by a “referee”/judge at the end of the case. Both sides pay the attorneys to bring the facts to the judge in a very formal legal court process. Attorneys cannot just bring your case to a judge over a cup of coffee. But forget all this….if you want to go through mediation, you can do it over a cup of coffee. How is that possible? Because that is how mediation is set up. You and your spouse both talk to the mediator and s/he helps you come to agreements. Kind of like a parent helping 2 kids who both want the same toy. I get that it is a lot more complicated than that but it is the general idea. There are laws about how who gets what but those rules can be flexible in a mediation. For instance: two parties fight over the house and IRA….a judge will split each in half and award each spouse half. What if the mediator finds out one spouse wants the house, the other wants only the IRA…a mediator can actually then negotiate that deal. A judge cannot. It is that simple. And all over a cup of coffee.

Let’s be honest. Divorce takes a long time because if you go the traditional litigation route there are steps and procedures you must follow to the letter of the law. It is really structured to be adversarial. In fact, one spouse actually has to “sue” the other spouse to begin the divorce process. That sets up fighting, if you allow it. So, what if that does not interest you? Mediation might be right for you. You can set the tone of the debates, find resolutions and short cut the process. For instance, in a typical litigation your attorney asks their attorney to give up documents that are then given to their lawyer who then gives them to your lawyer who gives them back to you…see what I mean? That sounds a bit crazy doesn’t it? So try this on: in a mediation: both parties just show up with all the documents and share them with each other. Easy peasy. Full disclosure without spending a dime. There are lots of differences between mediation and traditional litigation and you will be glad you considered mediation…and you might just get that express divorce you were hoping for.

This is a great question. Sometimes I hear clients or their spouses say cute things they heard on TV like: “see you in court.” What does that really mean? Well, it means that your attorney is going to be paid quite a bit of money to get ready for a trial (up to $20,000 or more) and then spend time in an actual courtroom putting witnesses (yes, you) on the witness stand and going over testimony and documents. Some people think this is the way to show the other spouse that you mean business…you will show them! Well, in actuality it is a huge stressor for everyone and very expensive for the parties. Then you have a judge who does not know your family and only hears what is presented in court in a 1-3 hour hearing. Your side of that time is anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.2 hours, most likely as you only get half the time. With that limited information, in a very limited timeframe, the judge will make decisions for your family that have lasting impact. And no matter how good the judge is, it will not make anyone very happy. Yes, I get that sometimes you have to go to trial…some cases just scream for a judge to decide the issue. I have conducted over 200 trials and each one was very stressful and very expensive. I do not recommend them. There is a better way. There is mediation. Learn about it. It is worth your time and effort to understand the difference.

If you have children, you might have heard this statement more than once as you asked your child to pick up their toys. And, as an adult you might have used that statement when someone tries to bully your or boss you around. In fact, believe it or not; some people feel bossed around or even coerced at a mediation. The attorneys in the room and the mediator are all telling them to sign the document and just move on…sign now, not tomorrow. The other side might change their mind. Did the attorney and the mediator think that perhaps you might want to change your mind? Don’t you have a right to do that? Yes, you do. Something that sounds good with people urging you on might not sound so great in the light of the next day. Remember, there is no rush in mediation. You should take your time. You should make your own decisions after whatever reflection you deem necessary. And, remember in Best Mediation, you are the boss of you.

Jenny wanted to get a divorce after 15 years of marriage. Her husband, Ben, just wasn’t the guy she married and she no longer wanted to be with him. Jenny was a nurse and Ben was a golf pro who worked at a local resort. So…what does Jenny do? She saw all the scary numbers about how a divorce could cost $10,000 or more. She and Ben lived in a nice house and both wanted to stay there. How could they make that work? They argued and argued about who gets the house. Jenny called Best Mediation and set up an appointment for her and Ben. They were both given some paperwork to fill out before they came to the video conference. Once they were introduced to the mediator and the mediation process, the hard discussions began. After listening to both sides separately. the mediator figured out a solution. Ben had had the mistaken idea that if he left the house, he would lose his children. Jenny wanted the house because it was close to her mom and sister. Ben never really liked the house because it had no man cave and he hated the formal dining room. So, Jenny and Ben were able to financially split the house: Jenny would buy out Ben’s equity over time, Jenny would refinance or sell within 6 months, Ben and Jenny would share the children 50/50 and Ben would find new housing in the children’s school district. They were both happy. They did not go to court. They saved a ton of money. It was minimal stress. The attorney helped them with their paperwork. All the other issues were resolved peacefully. In fact, Jenny was fine with Ben taking the boat since she was keeping the house….it all worked out and was a win win for the family. If they had gone to court, a judge could not have fashioned this solution…a judge would only be able to order the house sold most likely…a solution that neither Jenny or Ben wanted. So, they were grateful that the mediator was able to get to the heart of the matter and find a solution for them.

Have you ever been to Africa? it is one of the coolest places on earth with elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, and rhinos. But you might not really want to go to Africa and see wildlife for the first time without a guide…you might get eaten. So, you make the decision to go, you hire a guide and you let your guide know that you would like to search for a hippo. Your guide has plenty of experience taking people to see hippos and seeing them safely. So, if you want to compare going through a divorce to an African safari, you might want to get a guide…perhaps a mediator who can help you navigate through the countryside and keep you safe. A really good mediator is creative, experienced, and will keep you safe. A good mediator will save you time, money and stress and focus on resolutions for you and your spouse so it can be a win win for everyone. A really good mediator will be a neutral third party who will get the job done. You have input, you have your ideas and directives but the mediator will help make it happen. And at the end of the day, you will be glad you had some help with navigation over some very tough terrain.

A referee actually calls the rules of the game and sets up the playing field according to regulations and starts and ends the game. But a real referee actually blows a whistle when there is a foul. I am pretty sure that your mediator will not blow a whistle anytime during the mediation process but some of what a referee does might just happen in a mediation. For instance, a mediator will tell that you that they are a neutral third party, they will tell you the dos and don’t of mediation and they will help monitor and guide the process. They can help you with creative options that match your family needs. They can present ideas and options back and forth between parties in a non charged and non emotional manner. And mostly, they can use their years of experience to help make mediation a win win for your family.

If you are going through a tough time and thinking about divorce you might be concerned about time, price, and stress. We think that going through a divorce without going to court might be your solution. So, what is mediation? Divorce mediation is a process for settling all the issues that come up during a divorce. There are going to be disputes that arise during a divorce and how you decide to handle those disputes determine how much your divorce will cost, how much stress you will have and how much money you will spend. A mediation process is guided by an attorney who focuses on understanding the disputes and helps the parties figure out a way to resolve them. It can be done in an office and during the pandemic it can be done by video. The person who guides the process knows how to help you divide your stuff, figure out what to do about house and all the options you have, and helps with a parenting plan that works best for you and your spouse. A mediator is a neutral third party who works with both people who make the ultimate decisions with just a little bit of help.