The author is a practicing attorney in New City, N.Y. He is a former professor of political science and founder-director of the Paralegal Studies Program at the Bronx Community College of the City University of New York.
If divorce is the proper alternative for two individuals, they should be spared as much pain as possible. This can be done through the process of divorce mediation, in which one or two mediators help a husband and wife prepare their own separation agreement—a feat accomplished without the customary adversary-style anger, rancor and “go for the jugular” mind-set that is customary in contested divorces.
There is no “contest” in divorce mediation; both spouses are looking toward the future for better lives for themselves and their children and not dwelling on past hurts. It is a no-fault procedure in which the parties, guided by mediators, make binding contractual decisions. Depending on the particular circumstances, such decisions often involve residency and legal custody of children, visitation, geographic restrictions, child support, maintenance (alimony), equitable distribution of personal and real property, allocation of debts and liabilities, tax implications, and provision to resolve future disputes.