Mediation is a relatively informal process in which a neutral third party facilitates communication between the parties to a divorce action or custody dispute, the goal being that the parties will resolve their issues themselves rather than having a judge decide those issues for them. A mediation is also often called a settlement facilitation and in several judicial districts around New Mexico, including the Second Judicial District in Albuquerque, there are services associated with the courts that can provide a mediation/settlement facilitation for little or no cost to the parties.
Often in a very contentious or complicated cases, the judge will order the parties to mediation/settlement facilitation in order to see if they can make some headway toward resolving their issues outside the Court. The mediation process is confidential and the rules of civil procedure prevent offers made during mediation from being used as evidence before the Court. Therefore, meditation/settlement facilitation can allow parties to freely discuss possible resolutions of their issues.
Child Custody Mediation is provided year-round at low to no cost depending on the income of the parties through the Court Clinic in Albuquerque‘s Second Judicial District Court. Settlement facilitation is broader in scope that child custody mediation. Settlement facilitation addresses all aspects of the divorce including the division of property and debt, the division of retirement accounts, the division of the community residence, and alimony, child support, and child custody. Divorce, custody and family law settlement facilitation is provided for free to the parties once per year during Settlement Week at the Second Judicial District Courthouse.
Parties can also arrange for their own mediation; most judicial districts around the state can provide a list of mediators in the area. The people, who act as mediators do not have to be attorneys, but they should be trained in the mediation process and, for maximum effectiveness, should also be familiar with family law issues.
The product of a successful mediation is usually a written agreement. This agreement that is often hand-written will be drafted into a Martial Settlement Agreement, which will then be submitted to the Court and incorporated in the final divorce decree. Thus, while parties do not have to be represented by counsel during the mediation process, a party should strongly consider having an attorney present because the decisions made at a mediation/settlement facilitation can have a serious impact on the property and custody rights at issue in a divorce proceeding.
Mediation in New Mexico Divorce: Many Advantages Though Expectations Should be Kept in Check
Settling a Divorce Case in Mediation Does Not Mean Settling Differences
Settlement Facilitation in New Mexico Divorce Cases: Not Only Productive but Generally Required!