The Role of the Mediator
A mediator does not represent either party—such that they cannot provide either party with legal advice. So, then, what is their role?
Their role is best explained by examining the process that they undertake to help the parties reach an agreement. While acting as a facilitator, the mediator will assist the parties in:
(1) Identifying the Issues to be Resolved: The mediator will identify the potential issues (which may include custody/parenting time, alimony, child support, equitable distribution) and provide the parties with the applicable statutes governing each issue
(2) Gathering all Relevant Information: Both parties need to have a full and accurate understanding of the relevant information so that they can make informed decisions, whether it be in regards to income, value of assets or otherwise
(3) Formulating Options: Ideas are critical, and this is where a good mediator proves their worth! The more ideas and options that are generated, the more likely the parties are to find creative, workable solutions to their complex problems.
(4) Making Informed, Cooperative Decisions: A comprehensive agreement which resolves all issues and which provides for the needs of the parties and their families is the optimal outcome.
Once the mediator has helped the parties reach an agreement, they will draft for them a Memorandum of Understanding which will ultimately be used to finalize a Marital Settlement Agreement.