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Mediation or Separation, Which Should Come First?

Westfield Mediation, LLC
©Copyright 2014

Many couples interested in divorce mediation ask us, "Is it better to separate first, then start mediation? Or should we mediate before we separate?" As with most complicated questions about the divorce process, the answer can depend on the couple.

Some divorcing couples prefer to begin divorce mediation before they separate. This way, they have their parenting and financial plans laid out before they take the big step of setting up different households. For these families, the focus is on creating as much certainty as possible before they make a big change. Such an approach works well for couples who need time to get their finances in order, as well as those who need a mediator's help to craft a workable plan to begin living apart. Of course, the plans may need to be modified along the way, but a good divorce mediation agreement allows for review and change as needed.

Other divorcing couples prefer to separate before they begin mediation. In this scenario, the couple can start to see what works best for them - and what does not work -- in their new two household lives before committing their plans to paper. One advantage of this approach is that the divorce mediation process may be less stressful because the parties are not living in the same space as they hammer out a plan for their future.

In divorce mediation, we recognize that different families have different needs. The mediation process allows each couple to create an agreement that works well for their particular family, and determining when in the process to separate is one of the key questions each couple needs to decide for themselves.

For questions about Divorce Mediation, please contact Randi M. Albert, JD or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT at Westfield Mediation, LLC, by phone 908-913-0373, or email us at or View our website

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