When you’re headed to divorce court, you have a lot of things to think about, but for those who wish to make the divorce process a little easier, professional mediation can help. Divorce mediation is a process where a third party comes in and helps the couple with various issues, and it can be in-person or even virtual.
Divorce Mediation: A Smart Alternative to Traditional Litigation
What Is Divorce Mediation and How Does It Work?
Divorce mediation can be court-ordered or voluntary, and if it’s ordered by the court, it is usually free. Many good lawyers also offer mediation services, and while they’re not free, they are well worth the price and can actually save you money in the long run.
The process involves a neutral party who has experience in this kind of work, and the meeting usually takes place in the mediator’s office in order to keep the location neutral to both parties.
The mediator is responsible for keeping the conversation civil, but also for helping resolve certain issues related to property division, child custody and visitation, and numerous other issues that are usually a part of divorce proceedings. Virtual meetings can also take place, but the more issues you take care of during the mediation process, the less complicated the rest of the divorce proceedings will be.
How Does Divorce Mediation Differ from Traditional Divorce Litigation?
In a traditional divorce, the two parties often have little control over what’s going to happen because a judge often makes these decisions for them. Having your own attorney is always a smart move, but with mediation, both parties are taken into consideration for each of the decisions that have to be made and therefore, there’s a better chance that both parties will be equally satisfied with the results. Divorce mediation is part of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and it allows you to settle issues without having to go through court battles that are usually both lengthy and expensive.
If you’re afraid your divorce proceedings are going to be confrontational or unpleasant and this is something you don’t want, mediation could be the answer. Mediation allows you to avoid confrontation and helps resolve many of the issues you’re dealing with before you finalize your divorce.
Are There Any Downsides to Using Divorce Mediation for a Divorce?
There are numerous benefits to using divorce mediation besides the ones already mentioned. For one thing, it’s easier to get all of your issues resolved, which means you won’t have to rely on the court system to do this for you. The entire process runs much more smoothly and a lot faster, and both parties feel an equal amount of control, as opposed to either party feeling like they have no control at all. There is also a much greater chance that both parties will be happy with the results once you’re done.
Mediation also makes everything easier on any minor children because the issues related to custody and visitation will be resolved during the mediation process instead of in the courtroom, where things might get ugly.
What Are the Benefits of Using Divorce Mediation as Opposed to Going to Court?
If you decide to use a professional mediator rather than a lawyer, that person is unable to provide you with any legal advice, which means you might not be able to determine if the solutions they’re offering are your best options. In addition, if you and your spouse can’t be in the same room without arguing, mediation doesn’t always work. Although the mediators are experienced and know how to keep things neutral, with some couples this will not work.
There are also a few issues that usually aren’t resolved through mediation, including domestic violence and other urgent situations. Finally, while a divorce mediator is usually successful at resolving various issues for divorcing couples, they sometimes find themselves in a situation where it’s impossible to do this. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
How Do I Find a Qualified Divorce Mediator?
If you’re considering divorce mediation, keep in mind that a competent lawyer can do everything they can and more. While a lawyer will cost a little more, they’re worth it in the end because they can take care of all issues, not just some or most of them. If you work with a mediator and the issues can’t be resolved that way, you’ll have to move on to a lawyer next, which is why many people decide to work with a lawyer from the very beginning.
That being said, if you feel like you and your spouse’s separation is amicable so far and you feel confident your issues can be resolved easily and quickly, a professional mediator is a good choice. Either way, mediation is a great tool that is usually very effective in resolving a lot of issues that couples face when they’re in the middle of a divorce.