Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
A separation frequently stirs up negative emotions like resentment and anger. Unfortunately, emotional conflict can make divorce even more costly. If you want to steer clear of a costly trial and court hearings, you should consider divorce mediation. Here is some information that will help you decide whether divorce mediation is the right choice for you.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation refers to a process that permits couples in the process of divorce to resolve and discuss common issues related to divorce. The third-party is neutral and trained to help divorcing couples. Most couples find mediation less expensive and less stressful than a divorce trial. Also, divorce mediation tends to be a much faster process than a divorce trial. Mediation also gives couples the opportunity to maintain control and power in the divorce because both spouses have the ability to decide on matters that are related to divorce. On the other hand, a judge needs to decide the final outcome in a divorce trial.
Mediation will provide you and your spouse with the opportunity to improve your communication skills. This is true even if bad communication was a major reason for the failure of your relationship. Even if you and your spouse find communication challenging, a trained professional will still help you succeed in divorce mediation.
How Do Parents Choose a Mediator?
As you can probably imagine, divorce is even more complicated when children are involved. If you and your spouse are parents, you should choose a mediator who has experience with divorcing couples with children. Some issues that may pop up include child support, child custody, and visitation.
The mediator you choose should have a significant amount of knowledge when it comes to the divorce laws in your state. They should also have training in conflict resolution to help you and your spouse avoid the drama and the finger-pointing that is so common with divorce. Your mediator will work through the issues with you and your spouse to ensure all conversations are meaningful and constructive. Mediators will work hard to keep you and your spouse on track and will make suggestions help you resolve your issues. However, you should keep in mind that a mediator does not have the authority to make decisions for you or your spouse. Your mediator cannot force your spouse to sign a contract or accept a term.
How Does Mediation Work?
The process of divorce mediation begins when you and your spouse select a mediator. Mediation is voluntary in most states. Therefore, if you or your spouse disagrees with mediation and wants a traditional divorce trial, the court will not force the couple to do divorce mediation. However, in some states, couples are required to try divorce mediation in good faith before going through more court hearings.
Mediation only has the potential to be successful if both spouses are okay with negotiating the divorce terms. In general, an initial meeting is set up between the mediator and the spouses. During the first meeting, each spouse will be able to explain their expectations for the most common issues related to divorce. These issues include child support, child custody, child visitation, property division, and spousal support or alimony. This initial meeting will give your mediator a good understanding of which issues require the most discussion.
Besides the statutory limitations for divorce, there is no time limit for mediation. As long as all parties are willing, you can work on your issues for as long as you prefer. Of course, you will need to pay more money for the services of the mediator the more meetings you have, and the longer mediation takes. It is up to you and your spouse to decide how often and when to meet. Most couples are able to come to a resolution in just a few sessions. Divorce mediation usually costs a few thousand dollars less than a divorce trial.
Once all issues have been agreed upon, the mediator will create a draft of the divorce settlement agreement. Both spouses and all attorneys involved will need to review, sign, and present the divorce settlement agreement to the judge.
Should I Do Divorce Mediation?
For many couples, divorce mediation is the best choice to achieve a divorce with as little difficulty as possible. However, mediation will only work well if both spouses are in agreement. It is easier to come to a resolution when both spouses are on the same page when it comes to unresolved divorce issues. If you believe that it will be impossible for you and your spouse to agree, then you may be better off skipping divorce mediation and going straight to the divorce trial. Otherwise, you and your spouse should try a few sessions of divorce mediation and see how it works out.
Contacting Lawyers Near Me
For more information about divorce mediation, don't hesitate to contact a family law attorney here at Ask the Lawyers. You will have the opportunity to speak with a lawyer or schedule a consultation.