The Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC

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Lighter Way to Deal With Divorce

Needless to say, going through a divorce is never easy. Fortunately, The Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania is here to give you a valuable alternative to litigation in divorce cases.


As mediators, we facilitate strategic divorce mediations during which we assist you and your spouse in reaching a fair and equitable settlement. The mediation process is done in a private and confidential setting.

Mediation Process

Once a tentative agreement is made, the mediator clarifies the terms of the agreement and ensures all parties completely understand all that is included in the agreement. The mediator puts all the details of the parties' agreement into a written Memorandum of understanding.


If the clients have reviewed and accepted the Memorandum, the clients and the mediator will sign the document. The specifics contained in the Memorandum form the basis of the court agreement and the terms of the agreement should be entered by the court in the final divorce decree.

What are a few elements of a good agreement?

There are many elements that form the basis of a good agreement. A few examples include:

  • A carefully and thoroughly planned custody and visitation agreement,
  • A fair division of the equity in the Marital Home
  • Any other issue that the parties would like to include as part of their overall divorce agreement

What makes divorce mediation successful?

By Susan Deveney, Attorney-Mediator

Successful divorce mediation requires that each spouse come to the process of divorce mediation with (1) a willingness to listen to one another, (2) a willingness to participate in discussion about how their marital assets and liabilities should be apportioned, and (3) a willingness to have an open mind as to what a fair division of their marital estate might ultimately turn out to be. However, the most important ingredient in successful divorce mediation is a competent divorce mediator.

The best divorce mediators possess a number of important qualities. They are educated, experienced negotiators who are intuitive, non-judgmental, non-biased, creative, authoritative and well…likeable. If you dislike your mediator, you are far less likely to be open to suggestions she may have to resolve your marital issues, which of course decreases your chances for success. In addition to these attributes, it is also important, of course, for the divorce mediator to know the law regarding divorce in the jurisdiction in which the parties reside and will get their divorce decree. After all, divorcing spouses need to know the potential legal ramifications of being unable to reach agreement on any given issue, as well as what settlement arrangements will be legally acceptable and legally unacceptable in the jurisdiction in which their divorce will be made legal.


Divorce mediation is nearly always more successful than divorce litigation in which spouses hire separate attorneys and proceed in an adversarial manner by fighting in court about who gets what and who pays what. This is partially due to the fact that mediation is non-adversarial. Rather than fighting out the details, and angering one another to the point where neither is willing to cooperate in giving anything to the opposing spouse, divorce mediation clients talk civilly, through a process of negotiation, with the assistance of someone skilled in working out such agreements, to figure out how they can reach a settlement of their marital affairs that is fair and equitable for each side.

Divorce mediation is less stressful than traditional divorce litigation, creating less animosity between spouses and enabling them to exercise better judgment and make better decisions that are more likely to stand the test of time after the divorce becomes final. This contributes to the overall success of divorce mediation.


Another factor in the success of divorce mediation is that control over the divorce process is placed directly in the hands of the divorcing spouses rather than in the hands of adversarial attorneys and judges who know little about the parties’ circumstance and probably never will. By controlling the resolution of each issue in the dissolution of their marriage, spouses are literally able to design their own divorce decree, making them far more likely to adhere to it without hard feelings once their divorce becomes final. A divorce decree that is designed in a courtroom by persons who are strangers to the lives of the people affected by its terms is less likely to stand the test of time and more likely to cause new litigation to arise between the spouses in the future.


In conclusion, the things that make divorce mediation successful include spouses who come to it with the right frame of mind by engaging in a non-adversarial process which they control with the assistance of a competent divorce mediator. Spouses who plan to divorce and spouses who have begun the process of divorce are well advised to consider how the divorce mediation process works and whether it might be a beneficial way for them to proceed with the dissolution of their marriage.

Benefits of Mediation Over Contested Divorce

Mediation
Contested

Cost

$1,500 to $3,900

$8,000 to $60,000 and Above

Likelihood of Post-Divorce Litigation
Less Than 5%
About 40-50%
Timeframe
2-3 Months
1-2 Years
Privacy
Confidential
Subject to Public Disclosure
Decision-Makers
You and Your Spouse
Court Judges
Tone

Cooperative, Constructive, Fair

Adversarial, Antagonistic, Divisive

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