Mediation in New Hampshire


The decision to end a marriage is never an easy one, yet many marriages do end in divorce. While many divorces begin without any problems, as the divorce progresses many of them do end acrimoniously. When couples are unable to come to an agreement on the many terms of the divorce settlement they may require some help. A mediator is a professional who is trained to assist people in order to bring about a solution that is acceptable to both parties. If you are going through a divorce the first step is to choose an experienced New Hampshire family law attorney. Your lawyer has expertise with the latest divorce laws and understands how divorce cases are best resolved.
Divorce Settlement Terms
In New Hampshire property that is acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and is owned by both spouses equally. When a married couple divorces they must determine how to divide this property so that it is equitable for both parties. There are many settlement terms that must be reviewed. The most common things that may cause dispute include such things as division of property, child custody, alimony, child support, and visitation. Courts want couples to come to an agreement about the major terms of the divorce settlement. As the divorce begins to proceed, some couples begin to disagree about some things – usually regarding finances and children. If couples cannot come to an agreement the court will have the couple seek mediation.
Parenting Plan
When a divorcing couple has children they are required to compose a parenting plan. The parenting plan is a document that outlines the major terms of the divorce in regards to the children. The plan includes information about legal custody, physical custody, child support, and visitation. Additionally, the plan includes what will happen if one of the parents wants to relocate. Also, the parenting plan includes how the parents will handle disputes in the future, should they arise. Courts require parents to develop the plan prior to the completion of the divorce. Once complete, the plan will be reviewed by the judge and becomes part of the court order. If parents have difficulty agreeing on a parenting plan the court will usually order them to work with a mediator.
Mediation
Mediation is part of the “Alternative Dispute Resolution”. A mediator is a professional that has been trained by the court to provide assistance to couples who are having disagreements. A mediator may or may not be an attorney. Before speaking with a mediator you’ll want to discuss the matter with your New Hampshire divorce lawyer. Your lawyer may want to be present during any type of negotiation or mediation process. It is important to understand that a mediator should not be providing any type of legal recommendations to you in the process. The mediator should review the summaries from both parties and work in a controlled setting to facilitate a resolution that is acceptable to everyone. This can take some time and more than one session, depending on the complexity of issues that need to be resolved. Mediators may want to try to have you agree to a resolution before you are sure of it. If you are not completely sure of the decision it is best to speak to your attorney before making a decision or agree to any settlement.
Mediation Results are Binding
When parties are involved in court-ordered mediation the resulting agreement is binding. This means that once you reach a settlement agreement as the result of mediation the court will make it part of the official order. Because the result of mediation is part of the order you must make certain that it is what you want before you agree to it. Mediation may be ordered as part of the divorce settlement terms or parenting plan. No matter the reason, a mediator is sometimes a necessary part of the proceedings. For most couples, it is better to try to resolve issues with their attorneys rather than with a mediator. However, if you are going to work with a mediator you’ll want to first speak to a knowledgeable New Hampshire family law attorney.
What to Know About Mediation
Mediation is generally part of the court. An agreement that has been reached as the result of mediation is legally binding and cannot easily be changed or modified.  If you do find you need to make changes to a mediated agreement, there will likely be a delay to your divorce proceedings and you’ll also encounter additional expenses. Mediators, while trained to assist in problem resolution, are not supposed to provide you with any legal advice. However, it does happen, particularly because the courts are busy and mediators often have more cases than they can handle. They may try to speed things along more quickly than you are willing to do. Mediators may seem as though they are your advocates, however, this isn’t true. They are not supposed to advocate for either party so it is important to seek a professional legal opinion from your own lawyer.
Resolving Disputes
Disputes are very common between parties when they divorce. Some disputes are easy to solve while others are more complex. You may want to look to your New Hampshire divorce lawyer for support and guidance when disputes arise. Your attorney has experience handling many types of similar disputes and can often guide you to a reasonable solution without the need to get a mediator. Keep in mind that many issues in a divorce are sparked by emotions. When you step back and look at the real issues at hand there are some that may be more important than others. Compromise is a big part of resolving any type of dispute. While you may be angry with your spouse it is best to look at the big picture. Your lawyer will help you decide the best way to proceed and will be able to make suggestions that have the best potential outcome for your case.