Mediation is a process in which a mediator tries to help parties come to agreements. A mediator is a trained neutral who does not take sides. The mediator will try to help you solve these issues:
- How you will divide your marital property and debts
- Whether one party will pay spousal support
Note: You will only go to mediation if you ask the court for this. The court will not order you to go to mediation, or automatically set it up for you. If you want to mediate, you should send a request to the court clerk in writing – a simple letter will work. You should also send this letter to your spouse.
You can choose to use a private mediator, rather than the court mediator. But you must pay the mediator's fee. The fee for court-sponsored mediation is $80 each for two mediation sessions (unless you get a fee waiver). If you live in Southern Maine, you can also choose to mediate outside the court through the Opportunity Alliance located in South Portland. The Opportunity Alliance offers mediation services on a sliding scale fee system and the services are open to anyone who needs them regardless of ability to pay.
You must mediate in "good faith," but you don't have to agree to anything that you believe is wrong or wouldn't work. If the other party has abused you or you are afraid, ask to meet with the mediator alone to tell the mediator that you are afraid. You can ask to be in a separate room from the other party during the mediation.
If you are afraid of your spouse, read about ways to be safe.
After mediation you have two options:
- Uncontested Hearing: If you are able to reach a full agreement, write the clerk a letter asking that your case be scheduled for uncontested hearing to make your divorce final.
- Pretrial and Contested Hearing: If you were not able to reach a full agreement, write the clerk a letter asking that your case be scheduled for a contested hearing.
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