Getting a divorce can be an expensive, frustrating and protected process. It is very common for divorcing couples to disagree about many, if not all, of the major considerations in their divorce. From asset and debt division to child custody and who keeps the family home, you both likely have different wishes about the outcome of your divorce.
For many couples, that means heading to divorce court, which can take many months and cost a substantial amount of money. It also leaves all of the issues of your marriage a part of the public record, meaning that people, including your children, could end up knowing far more about the worst issues of your marriage than you’d prefer. For some couples, divorce mediation could offer a valid alternative to a contentious divorce in court.
What is mediation and how does it work in divorce?
Mediation is essentially the process of working with a neutral third party to find a means of resolving disputes and disagreements. When the mediation is part of the divorce process, both spouses should also have their own attorney. This helps to ensure that neither spouse gets taken advantage of or fails to assert his or her legal rights during the mediation process.
If calm discussion is possible, you and your ex could discuss, back and forth in the same room, how you want to handle critical issues in your divorce, such as child custody, asset division, child or spousal support, retirement funds and taxes. If emotions are too high, each spouse and his or her respective attorney could have their own space, with the mediator moving back and forth between rooms to negotiate and broker an agreement. Once the terms are set, you can file for an uncontested divorce, allowing the courts to review and approve your parenting plan and divorce agreement.
How does mediation benefit couples going through divorce?
One of the biggest benefits of mediation is the control it offers over the outcome of your divorce. In traditional contested divorces, the courts have the ultimate decision-making power. That often means that neither spouse is satisfied with the final arrangements for the divorce. When you choose mediation, on the other hand, you and your spouse have complete control over the terms of your divorce.
Mediation is generally much faster than a contested divorce. Instead of waiting for a court date and battling in front a judge, you can take the time you need to reach a mutually agreeable compromise on the critical issues. You not only save your own time, you save time for the courts as well. That can also mean that mediation costs much less than a contentious divorce in the courts.
If you have minor children, you probably worry about the impact the divorce will have on them. Mediation protects your children from all the worst parts of divorce, from seeing parents fighting in court to getting forced to choose where they want to live. Mediation even shows your children that disputes can get resolved with patience and compromise instead of anger.