As you and your soon-to-be ex navigate the divorce process, disputes may arise that you can’t resolve on your own. You may assume that litigation is your only option to resolve these disputes, but mediation could be a suitable alternative option that enables you to avoid litigation and reach an agreement that benefits you and your spouse equally.
Let’s explore how mediation can resolve divorce disputes and improve your divorce process.
What Is Mediation?
In mediation, you and your spouse will sit down with a neutral mediator who specializes in divorce disputes and will help you address and discuss important issues to achieve mutually beneficial solutions. The mediator will help you view and understand the issues from both perspectives and suggest low-conflict resolutions that you and your spouse can both agree upon.
The mediator will charge a fee for their services to be divided between you and your spouse, and it is advisable that you each hire your own attorneys to join the mediation sessions to advocate for you and provide legal advice. However, you are still likely to save substantial money in comparison to using litigation for your divorce.
What are the Benefits of Mediation for Divorcing Couples?
Among the many benefits of using mediation to resolve divorce disputes are:
- Full Control: Through mediation, you and your spouse maintain control over the outcomes of your divorce. In litigation, however, a judge will decide on important divorce-related issues for you, and won’t necessarily take your personal perspectives or concerns into consideration to determine the best solution for all parties. When there are complex issues at hand, especially those related to finances or child custody, the judge may also call for expert testimony that can increase costs, and may even require your children to appear in court for questioning. This will ultimately increase stress for your children in what is already a highly stressful situation.
- Privacy: Litigation is typically accessible to the public, but with mediation, you and your spouse can keep your private affairs out of the public eye. You also have a say in which specialists you’d like included in your mediation sessions to provide expert advice, insights, and guidance to help you and your spouse reach solutions that address your unique needs and concerns.
- Reduced stress: While the divorce process can come with a range of challenging emotions, the process of mediation encourages you to keep a level head and avoid the stress and conflict of litigation. Divorce can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be devastating. By working with a mediator who specializes in divorce disputes, you and your spouse can fully understand the issues that matter to each of you to find amicable solutions that satisfy all parties.
How Does Mediation Work for Divorcing Couples?
During mediation, your mediator will learn which high-tension issues you and your spouse are having difficulty resolving on your own. You will each have a chance to explain your points of view, and the mediator will come up with possible solutions and help you and your spouse to reach a compromise.
If the negotiations are successful, the mediator will help you draft a mutually acceptable settlement agreement. You’ll have a chance to review it. You may accept some terms as written and ask for others to be changed. You and your soon-to-be ex will then be able to discuss those proposed changes and make sure you both agree on the final document.
While mediation itself is a comparatively informal process, a settlement agreement is a binding contract. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you fully understand what you are signing. Because a mediator cannot give you legal advice you and your spouse will each be encouraged to retain your own attorneys to provide independent legal advice during mediation.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
Mediation is not a one-size-fits-all process and can take anywhere from one or two sessions to ten or more, depending on the complexity of the issues that you and your spouse need to resolve. However, you can help reduce the length of the process by:
- Gathering and organizing all of your financial documents in advance
- Going into mediation with an open mind
- Being upfront and transparent with your soon-to-be ex throughout the mediation process
Does Mediation Always Work?
A successful mediation hinges on both spouses’ willingness to compromise. If you or your spouse is not willing to budge on divorce-related issues, this process may not have the successful outcome you hoped for. However, mediators are trained to reduce conflict and help you see each other’s points of view. This can help you move forward through any impasse that may arise.
Vacca Family Law Group: Representing Your Interests Through Mediation and Beyond
Divorce doesn’t have to be contentious, and there are alternative options to going to court. Using mediation to resolve divorce disputes can enable you and your spouse to achieve a peaceful, amicable divorce process, preserve your individual futures, and avoid the added stress and costs of litigation.