In order for you and your spouse to divorce, you will first have to come to an agreement on the following issues:
- The division of your property
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
If you cannot resolve these issues on your own, you will have to go to court and allow a judge to resolve them for you.
But, nobody knows more about what’s best for you and your children than you and your spouse. Thus, even if you are barely speaking to each other, mediation can be a huge benefit to you in terms of settling your divorce in a manner that is in the overall best interest of everyone involved and with the least amount of collateral damage to your family.
1. What is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative to resolving issues pertaining to divorce by trial. In Mediation, you and your spouse meet with a mediator who helps you negotiate all of the issues you need to resolve before your case can be settled.
A mediator is a trained, neutral third party—often a lawyer—who acts as a facilitator while you and your spouse negotiate a divorce settlement. The mediator helps you discuss alternatives and options to resolving issues so that you and your spouse can come to an agreement that is in your family’s overall best interest.
With mediation, you can take your time and explore all of your options. Part of the mediator’s job is to make sure that you have all of the information you need to make good decisions. Furthermore, mediation appointments are private and often held in 2 or 3-hour time blocks so that you really get a chance to fully discuss all of the issues you need to resolve in order to reach a settlement.
2. What are The Benefit of Mediation?
Mediation offers several benefits to divorcing couples, most importantly:
- It allows you to avoid court and unnecessary legal fees;
- It enables you to meet your family’s unique needs by designing your own court order;
- It promotes healthy dialogue between you and your former spouse––this is especially helpful if you are going to be raising children as co-parents;
- It is generally much less adversarial than a divorce that goes to court;
- You have a lot more input into custody and child support orders; and
- Mediation is most often quicker and less expensive than a divorce that goes to court
In addition, couples who participate in mediation report being more satisfied with the outcome of their divorce than couples who went to court. Moreover, research shows better long-term outcomes with mediation, for both parents and children.
Finally, with mediation, you have a choice as it how much or how little you use a lawyer. Some people bring lawyers with them to the mediation sessions, others consult with their lawyers outside of the sessions, and some people choose not to involve lawyers in their settlement negotiations at all.
To summarize, mediation is the process through which divorcing couples use a mediator to assist them in negotiating an out of court divorce settlement. It offers a couple a number of advantages, most importantly, that it can help make a divorce less stressful, less expensive, and less time consuming. For more information on divorce mediation, contact an experienced divorce lawyer for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.