How Mediation in Divorce Works
Recently, the Internet was atwitter with the story of a divorced wife who sent $47.12 in pennies to her ex-husband after a judge ordered her to make the payment.
That’s the kind of venom that can sometimes drip in divorce cases, especially the one half of one percent that wind up in court.
Carl Cangelosi, a divorce mediator, believes that most splits don’t need to come to that.
Mediation as a Cost-Effective Alternative
«Parties have disputes all the times. Parties are angry all the time, but that’s what the mediator helps them do, is to helps them get through that and work through the issues,» says Cangelosi, the past president of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.
After working 22 years as a lawyer and a second career as a businessman, Cangelosi is now in the business of helping couples get uncoupled in a more civilized way.
«When kids are involved in a divorce, you will find that clients are really concerned about maintaining the relationship that they have. Not the same kind of relationship that they had, but they want to have a good relationship,» says Cangelosi
Children aren’t the only reason people look to mediators to settle disputes. It’s often a more economical way to work out your differences.
«Mediation, my services plus a review attorney for each of the parties cost somewhere between six and $9000. If the parties were just to retain attorneys, and there was not much in dispute, so most everything pretty much went well, it would be somewhere in the mid-20s to $30,000.»
Issues to Be Mediated
Mediation should cover
1. Parenting Issues
2. Equitable Distribution
4. Child Support
There are four basic areas that a divorcing couple need to come to agreement on: Parenting, because there is no preparation for parenting and people of the issues and then lastly child support.
Pointers about Mediation
Cangelosi recommends that each side have an attorney to review the «Memorandum of Understanding» that is the end result of the mediation.
«I think it’s very important for people to do that, to use attorneys, but I do not require them to use attorneys. That is up to them, it is their divorce,» he says.
As a mediator, he doesn’t take sides. He’s totally impartial and while he dispenses legal information, he doesn’t offer specific legal advice.
«Our role is really to help them decide for themselves as to what they want to do on all the issues,» says Cangelosi.
Who Are Mediators?
In addition to working with couples, Cangelosi also teaches a 40-hour training course in divorce mediation for the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.
«Nowadays, most mediators are attorneys, then the second largest group are mental health professionals and then you have a smattering of all others,» he says.
A mediator doesn’t need to have any credentials at all. The profession is unregulated in all 50 states. The best way to find a mediator is to get a referral from a friend, attorney or marriage counselor. But the most important factor is that both sides feel comfortable with the person they choose.