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Heather Jones

Mediation in divorce proceedings is a viable alternative to pursuing your divorce in the court. Divorce mediation in Wisconsin can be a lower cost and lower stress process where the parties are able to formulate a plan for divorce that works for them. Mediation is an attractive alternative for parties who are divorcing amicably but need some help in getting through the tougher parts of property division and child care. Quite often parties are ordered to mediation by the court to resolve parenting issues or to work out a division of assets and debts. If divorce mediation in Wisconsin is something you would like to know more about, read on for our list of five things to know about divorce mediation in Wisconsin.  

What to Expect

Regardless of if you and your soon to be ex-spouse are ordered to attend mediation or go voluntarily the process is essentially the same. If you’re reading this article, you are probably wondering, “what is divorce mediation in Wisconsin?” In mediation a neutral third party will meet with you, your spouse and potentially your counsel of record to facilitate a meaningful conversation about how your marital estate should be divided and how minor children will be cared for moving forward. The mediator is sometimes, but not always, an attorney who understands the relevant law and what issues will need to be resolved.  

It is the mediator’s responsibility to provide you with a framework and some guidelines on how you will communicate with the other party about the necessary topics. The framework varies from mediator to mediator but it is important that you go to mediation prepared to negotiate in good faith if you want to achieve a good result.  

Mediating in good faith means that you are there with an open mind, you are willing to listen to the pother party and try to come to an equitable agreement.  If the divorce is amicable then the process should flow along smoothly with minimal involvement from the mediator. If the divorce has some sticking points, where the parties both have very strong opposite opinions on what needs to happen, the mediator will take a more aggressive role and set boundaries for the parties (or even put them in separate rooms) in order to make the time spent in mediation as productive as possible.  

If the mediator does elect to put the parties in separate rooms, the mediator will take on the role of a go-between, bringing the ideas and compromises of each party to the other, attempting to keep the mediation moving forward. The mediator is a completely neutral party and does not have any stake in the outcome of the mediation, other than to assist the parties come to a reasonable resolution that they can both live with. Remember that the mediator is there to help and any rules or techniques used by the mediator are implemented in order to help you reach a resolution.  

A short checklist for Wisconsin Divorce Mediation:

  1. Your attorney. You can have your attorney present with you at all times and consult with your attorney privately about all ideas presented by the other side.  
  1. A reasonable list of “must haves,” what you are absolutely not prepared to compromise on and the reasons why
  1. Things you want but are prepared to negotiate about.
  1. Reasonable expectations-divorce is never easy. The likelihood of you getting everything exactly that way you want it is almost non-existent.
  1. A willingness to compromise-mediation only works if you are willing to compromise, otherwise the court will do it for you.  

Divorce Mediation gives you greater control over the divorce process

The upside to Wisconsin divorce mediation is that it allows you a greater degree of control over the divorce process. If you and the other party are able to reach an agreement, it is an agreement that was fully negotiate by you and, presumably, an agreement you believe you can live with. Going to court is not always avoidable but when you go to court you will receive a ruling from a judge, an order that instructs you on how the divorce will proceed, mediation takes that factor out of the divorce process and gives the Wisconsin family law court a rest from a very high-volume caseload.  

You set your own timelines

You and the other party can work together to establish your own timelines. Whether it is for when support checks arrive, when children are exchanged or when the family home is put up for sale, it is all a matter of the two of you working together for a desired outcome. Furthermore, you won’t be waiting for court dates to become available to you to resolve issues, you can attend mediation fairly quickly after you decide to go and you can move as fast as both parties are willing to move.  

Wisconsin Divorce Mediation can be less costly

Mediation is not free and can even take several days but when you hold it against the cost of preparing for and attending a half or full day trial, it is still the less expensive option.

You reach an agreement that you can live with

This is the number one reason a lot of people will at least attempt to mediate, you can get an agreement you can live with, not an order you have to live with. While it might not seem like that big of a deal in the heat of a contested divorce, having an agreement you took an active role in negotiating should give you peace of mind in the future. If you attempt to mediate and do not reach a resolution, the court will be informed that you attempted mediation but did not reach an agreement. No details of what is said by either party is going to be shared with the court.  

It is advisable that you still retain an experienced Wisconsin family law attorney even if you want to reach a resolution through mediation. A mediator cannot provide you with personal legal advice, form any type of attorney-client relationship with you. In other words, while the mediator can facilitate a resolution you should have your attorney confirm that is equitable and your rights are fairly represented.  

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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