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Connecticut Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

This list of frequently asked questions and answers on issues of separation and divorce has been developed by Divorce Headquarters in conjunction with our professional members in response to the numerous requests for information we have received from our site visitors.

The answers to the questions provided in this section are general in nature and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to replace specific legal advice.

The authors and creators and any and all persons or entities involved in any way in preparation of the website known as Divorce Headquarters and/or divorcehq.com disclaim all responsibility for the legal effects or consequences of the interpretation of the information provided. Individuals intending to use divorcehq.com as an information resource should seek advice from family law professionals and experts familiar with the laws of their state. This website is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be relied on for that purpose.


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Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within this web site without first consulting an attorney or an appropriate professional depending upon the content of the information.





Return Should I see a therapist?
Divorce often exposes painful and challenging feelings. A therapist can help you understand and cope with these feelings, as well as help you identify the ways your behavior and personality contributed to the failure of your marriage so that you may learn from your divorce experience. Therapy can also help your children deal with the many challenges that divorce brings.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return Are there any situations where litigation is preferred over divorce mediation?
Some divorce mediators feel that divorce mediation is not appropriate in cases involving a high level of anger and conflict. This opinion is based on the mistaken assumption that litigation offers "protection" that is unavailable in divorce mediation. In fact, just the opposite is true. Litigation is an adversarial process that intensifies anger, blaming, and defensiveness, thus making the problems worse. Divorce mediation, on the other hand, provides a safe environment where the spouses can express feelings, clarify issues, and focus on the future, rather than on blame for the past. Divorce mediation thus helps to ease tensions and make it possible for the couple to work towards the common goal of getting on with their own lives

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return Can I have someone with me at the mediation sessions?
Just you, your spouse, and the mediator should participate in the divorce mediation sessions. Some divorce mediators allow attorneys to be present (even though they may not actively participate in the session), but most mediators feel strongly that the presence of attorneys is counterproductive: the mere fact that the attorneys are in the room suggests that divorce mediation is a contest, and that the attorneys stand ready to "fight" for you. One of the primary advantages of divorce mediation is that it allows you and your spouse to make the decisions and to be in control of your own divorce--when attorneys are present in the session, it is easy to give up your decision-making power and rely on the attorneys. Sometimes, however, it is appropriate to consult an outside professional--such as a pension expert or an appraiser-but they do not attend the divorce mediation sessions.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return How does choosing divorce mediation over litigation help the children?
First, divorce mediation is a cooperative process: parents work together to develop their final agreement, which includes provisions for parenting the children. This cooperative approach usually continues after the divorce is finalized. On the other hand, in litigated divorces, the parents are adversaries, and therefore often assume adversarial parenting roles--thus putting the children "in the middle" of their parents' disagreements. The second way that divorce mediation is preferable for children is that divorce mediation encourages you to be creative and flexible, so that you can devise parenting plans that meet your family's unique needs and circumstances. In contrast, litigation discourages cooperation and creativity, and gives the decision-making power to the attorneys and the courts

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return How long does divorce mediation take?
This varies from case to case. If you and your spouse are in substantial agreement on most issues, mediation may require only three or four sessions. However, if either of you is very angry and uncooperative, or if there are substantial or complex issues involved, additional sessions may be needed. You and your spouse are in charge of developing your own agreement, so the extent to which both of you can be open, honest, cooperative and respectful are important factors in determining how long mediation will take. Regardless of how quickly you may complete the divorce mediation process, Connecticut imposes a 90-day "cooling off" period before you can have your final court hearing.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return How much does divorce mediation cost?
There are three major variables that determine the cost of divorce mediation:

(1) the number of hours required to complete the process;
(2) the divorce mediator's hourly rate; and
(3) the services provided by the divorce mediator.

Given these variables, divorce mediation costs do vary considerably, but one thing is almost always certain: divorce mediation is significantly less expensive than litigation. First of all, the parties are paying one divorce mediator instead of two attorneys; fees paid for "consulting attorneys" are usually minimal. Secondly, divorce mediation requires only a fraction of the time (and related hourly fees) incurred in most litigated cases. Finally, keep in mind the old adage: "you get what you pay for." Don't be fooled by divorce mediators who charge significantly less than most other divorce mediators; chances are, the low fee reflects a lack of professional training and experience, which will cost you more money in the long run.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return Is divorce mediation binding?
Divorce mediation is not binding until the final agreement has been signed by both parties. Therefore, either of you can terminate the divorce mediation process at any time, for any reason. However, most couples appreciate the benefits of divorce mediation over litigation, and therefore they are willing, with the mediator's guidance, to work out any problems that might otherwise sabotage the divorce mediation process.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return Is divorce mediation confidential?
Divorce mediation is completely confidential; only you, your spouse, your consulting attorneys, and the mediator know what is done or said in divorce mediation. Even when the final agreement is submitted to the Court, the divorce mediation proceedings remain confidential. No conversations, documents, or other communications that directly relate to the divorce mediation can be introduced into evidence, nor can anyone ask the mediator to testify--or produce documents--relating to the divorce mediation, without the consent of all the parties.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return Is there anything the divorce mediator does not do?
The mediator remains impartial as to the agreements reached by you and your spouse. The mediator does not take sides with or represent either of you; the mediator does not act as a judge or make decisions for you; the mediator does not determine what is "fair" or acceptable. Finally, the mediator does not try to save marriages, although the mediator should make sure that the parties have reached a firm decision to get divorced before they proceed with the divorce mediation.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return What happens if we cannot reach an agreement in divorce mediation?
If you and your spouse get stuck on a particular issue, the mediator can put that issue aside for the time being, and go on to another issue. Often, this procedure makes it possible to return to the difficult issue at a later date and reach a satisfactory agreement. Most couples find that the divorce mediation process helps them develop self-confidence and communication skills that enable them to work more effectively with each other, to consider all the options, and to reach a satisfactory agreement. However, in the unlikely event that you cannot reach a final agreement in divorce mediation, either of you could then proceed to litigation.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return What is the role of each party in the divorce mediation process?
In divorce mediation, the responsibility (and the opportunity) for both reaching an agreement and addressing personal issues belongs to you and your spouse; the mediator simply facilitate the process. Therefore, each of you must be willing to: (1) clearly state your needs, interests and feelings; (2) listen with an open mind to your spouse; and (3) discuss difficult issues in a respectful and constructive manner. While this may sound impossible, most couples discover that divorce mediation provides a setting that both encourages and facilitates cooperative and honest communication.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return What is the role of the divorce mediator?
The mediator facilitates the discussions between you and your spouse. The mediator should provide a safe environment, encourage each of you to actively participate in making decisions, and help you to focus on goals for the future (and not on blame for the past.) The mediator makes sure that both of you have the same complete and accurate information. The mediator should also help both of you to develop options and to consider the consequences of those options so that you can make informed decisions. Perhaps most important of all, the mediator encourages each of you to become self-sufficient and to take responsibility for making your own decisions.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return Who prepares the final Separation Agreement?
An attorney usually prepares the final agreement for the court. If your mediator is also an attorney, this is particularly helpful to clients, for two reasons: first, the attorney/mediator is the person present during all of your sessions, so the attorney/mediator knows the details of your agreement better than any "outside" professional. By preparing the final agreement, the attorney/mediator saves you time (and thus, money), and avoids the need for separate attorneys to pass the agreement back and forth for revisions. The second reason that it is wise to have the attorney/mediator prepare the final agreement has to do with a fundamental quality of divorce mediation: trust. If one of you had your own attorney prepare the final agreement, it would be normal for the other spouse to be suspicious of the agreement prepared by that attorney. During your divorce mediation sessions together, you have should come to trust both each other and the attorney/mediator; it is counterproductive to challenge that trust just as you are completing the divorce mediation process. Therefore, it makes both economic and practical sense for your attorney/mediator to prepare the final agreement.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788  



Return Will the divorce mediator meet separately (caucus) with each of us?
One of the fundamental characteristics of divorce mediation is that the mediator must remain impartial as to the decisions reached by you and your spouse. Therefore, the mediator must also remain impartial with respect to you and your spouse as individuals, and not "take sides." Normally the mediator would not meet with either of you alone. However, under particularly difficult circumstances, it may be necessary for one of you to leave a divorce mediation session for a few minutes so that the mediator can meet with the other spouse alone. If the mediator does caucus with one of you, everything that is said in that separate meeting should be shared with the other spouse because secrets undermine the trust and impartiality essential to divorce mediation.

This answer supplied by: Robert Terhune Stewart, M.S., J.D., MA-MFT of TheFamilyMediator.com     (860)674-1788