Divorce or Mediation?

Family Division rules require mediation in the following situations:
2.13  Mediation:
A.  In divorce actions and legal separation actions in which there are minor children, and in parenting petition cases, parties shall be ordered to participate in mediation unless the Court finds that mediation would not be appropriate due to factor(s) listed in RSA 461-A:7.             
B.  Participation in mediation may be ordered in new divorces and legal separations without minor children and in those divorce, legal separation, or parenting cases in which final orders have been issued if those cases return to court for further Court orders.            
C.  If there is a finding of domestic violence as defined in RSA 173-B:1, and if the parties agree to mediate despite the existence of the protective order, all mediation sessions shall occur at the courthouse.            
D.  The court will be involved in scheduling the initial mediation session in each case.  Thereafter, mediation will be scheduled through the parties and the mediator. Parties must cooperate with the mediator to establish the next mediation date at the end of each mediation session.            
E.  Attorneys may attend mediation sessions with their clients, provided the mediator is able to establish a balanced opportunity for both parties to participate in the mediation.            
F.  Mediation will be ordered only with mediators certified pursuant to RSA 328-C who have contracted with the Judicial Branch. 
However, parties may arrange private mediation with a mediator of their choice, regardless of whether these mediators have contracts with the judicial branch.            
Some situations are okay for mediation with the personnel at the courthouse if the situation carries low risk to either party. Examples: No fault grounds No children No real estate No retirement/pension accounts No alimony issues No self-employment by either party No inheritance issues No business issues Mediation is Not a Group Hug Mediation is not a walk in the park. It is an opportunity to settle but don’t lose sight of your goals because you are lulled into a false sense that this is a warm and fuzzy meeting between friends. Be prepared to be forthcoming enough for the mediator to understand the assets, the facts, the questions, any agreed upon points and the not agreed upon concerns.
However, be careful what you say. Do not risk revealing important strategic points, even to the mediator, which place you at risk if the case doesn’t settle.
Rules of the Road for Mediation: 1. Be careful 2. The mediator or case manager is not necessarily your friend. 3. The quality of the mediator is critical. 4. Your soon to be ex is not necessarily your friend. 5. Have an experienced family law lawyer attend with you. 6. At a minimum, talk with an experienced family law lawyer before you attend. 7. Do not sign anything without an experienced family law attorney reviewing the document. 8. Have the proposed deal reviewed by an experienced family law lawyer before you sign.
Good question, but there is a method to this madness. Adultery is very much alive and well in New Hampshire as a ground for divorce. Adultery can be a factor in the court’s decisions regarding dividing the parties assets. In some cases the court’s award is not affected by the adultery. In other cases, I have had client’s win between 55% up to 70% of the total marital assets because of the adultery. My strategy is that if the facts fit, I typically recommend that our filing for divorce includes adultery or at least reserves the right to claim further along in the case, that there was adultery. Timing is everything. Timing is important, very important. Too early in the case can torpedo a possible quick settlement. Too late in the case and you can lose the opportunity to include adultery as a ground and that can be a game changer in terms of the money you could receive.