Pittsburgh Divorce Mediation Attorneys

Lawyer with couple engaging in divorce mediation

The thought of getting divorced sometimes leads to envisioning drawn-out court battles and intense emotional conflict. However, divorce doesn’t need to be a high-conflict process. Many divorcing couples are choosing divorce mediation. Negotiating the terms of a divorce settlement out-of-court through mediation can help couples resolve disagreements amicably and more cost-effectively than traditional litigation. 

At Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace LLP, we understand how important divorce mediation can be in avoiding costly and emotionally fraught divorces. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients navigate the divorce mediation process and resolve their disputes fairly for both individuals. 

What Is Divorce Mediation?

When both spouses are willing to pursue mediation, they can work together to resolve their differences as quickly and daily as possible. Divorce doesn’t need to involve highly contentious child custody hearings and embattled litigation. Divorce mediation provides a less adversarial environment outside of the court process. 

A couple will generally speak to a neutral, third-party mediator during mediation. The goal of mediation isn’t to “win” but to find solutions to issues that may be sticking points for a divorcing couple. Some of the most common issues a couple needs to discuss during divorce mediation include the following:

For example, suppose a couple has resolved nearly every aspect of their divorce but cannot agree on a child custody arrangement. Perhaps one parent wants the children to spend half a week with each parent. The other parent would rather have the children on the weekends. A mediator can help the couple agree on a solution they both find fair. 

The End Goal of Divorce Mediation

The end goal of divorce mediation is for the couple to complete a written agreement between themselves, which sets forth all of the terms of the divorce. The mediator does not need to be an attorney in Pennsylvania. However, working with a mediator who is also an attorney can help you develop an agreement that can become your divorce agreement. Family law attorneys have an understanding of what provisions need to be included in divorce agreements. When the mediator is an attorney, he or she can draft a Marital Settlement Agreement. 

Speaking to an attorney before signing a divorce agreement resulting from the mediation process is important. The mediator will not be representing your personal interests and protecting your rights. The mediator’s goal is not to take sides but to help you and your spouse move toward finding solutions. Your attorney will be able to advise you of any potential red flags in the agreement that could hurt you in the future.

Is Divorce Mediation for Me?

Divorce mediation isn’t always possible for divorcing couples, although it is a good option for many. Both parties must be fully agreeable and open to divorce mediation. When one or both individuals are unwilling to compromise and consider creative solutions, the mediation process will not work. 

There are several benefits of divorce mediation. Mediation can be much more inexpensive than pursuing a traditional divorce. Individuals can pay for a third-party mediator instead of an attorney. You may also be able to save money by avoiding litigation and court hearings. Mediation is informal and voluntary and promotes dialogue between the parties. 

The divorcing couple may be more satisfied with the outcome, knowing that they both contributed to resolving their differences of opinion. Similarly, divorce mediation can be easier on children because the process is more amicable and peaceful. 

The Divorce Mediation Process

The first step in the divorce mediation process is choosing a mediator you and your spouse agree on. Usually, you will have a consultation with the mediator to discuss whether mediation would be beneficial in your case. 

The mediator may give you his or her opinion on whether mediation would be successful. For example, suppose you would like to pursue divorce mediation, but your spouse has a combative attitude and is not going to compromise. In that case, you may need to pursue a more traditional divorce process. If you and your spouse want to move forward with the mediation process, the mediator will begin discussing the aspects of your divorce that may be causing conflict.

Mediators Help Couples Move Toward Finding Solutions 

Mediation is an individualized process. Some divorced couples can reach an agreement after one or two mediation sessions. Others need multiple mediation sessions to agree. Every mediator has a slightly unique approach, but many will work with a set of written questions. The mediator may ask you to write down your responses to each question. You can discuss your responses and your spouse’s and find areas of disagreement to be resolved. The mediator may also request relevant financial documents. 

Generally, each mediation meeting will cover a specific topic. Highly skilled mediators will try to understand some underlying issues in your divorce. They will also try to get to know you and your spouse as people and develop a picture of what you’ll need to do to divide your property fairly and resolve any issues related to child custody. 

After a mediator receives information about your retirement accounts, the marital home, savings and checking accounts, vehicles, and brokerage accounts, he or she can begin helping you work towards how to divide your assets and debts.

Discuss Your Case with a Divorce Mediation Attorney in Pittsburgh

The divorce process will look different for every couple. If you believe you and your spouse may be able to work together with the help of a neutral third-party mediator to resolve your differences, Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace LLP is here to help. 

We can answer your questions and help you understand whether divorce mediation is right for you. Contact the Pittsburgh divorce attorneys at Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace LLP to schedule a consultation with a skilled attorney.