What is Divorce Mediation?
- What is Divorce Mediation?
- Is Divorce Mediation for Me? Five Reasons to Consider Divorce Mediation
Mediation allows both parties to be heard and provides the opportunity to negotiate a resolution that is custom-tailored to your situation.
The two basic “paths” in family law are litigation (i.e. going through the courts) and mediation – negotiating a resolution of issues that is custom-tailored to your situation. Mediation allows many issues to be addressed that are often outside of the scope of litigation because the courts do not take into account intangibles, such as a person’ emotions, priorities, or personal relationships.
People choose mediation over litigation because mediation tends to be less expensive, allows for greater control over the outcome, and minimizes hostility (rather than magnifying it.) Litigation can be extremely expensive and unpredictable regarding what result the court will come up with, as well as how long the process will take. Mediation saves time and often minimizes the expenses involved in resolving your family law issue.
Mediation can be extremely effective even in high-conflict situations, or where communication is an issue. I am trained in conflict resolution and mediation. I create a space where both parties can be heard, even if they are not able to communicate effectively between themselves. Mediation is also a good option for people who will continue to have a relationship after the dispute is resolved, such as couples who are divorcing who have children together, or will continue working together.
- Are you looking to amicably resolve a dispute without having to drag it through court?
- Would you like to maintain a relationship after the issue has been resolved?
- Would you like to save the money, time and heart ache that a drawn out legal process can create?
The benefit of working with a family law attorney as the mediator is that I am able to provide neutral legal information, including how other couples have resolved similar issues and how a court is likely to decide a particular issue. Once a resolution is reached, I can also draft the documents and forms necessary to communicate your agreement to the court.
In a divorce, the Court has jurisdiction over four primary issues of dispute, which are like tracks going in the same direction that may or may not cross:
- Child support
- Division of Property
In divorce mediation, the agenda is very specific to the people involved and the issues pertinent to them. During divorce mediation sessions, a mediator guides the involved parties through some or all of those above listed issues. Unlike an attorney who advocates for one person, a divorce mediator stands in the middle and never takes sides, focusing instead on bringing all matters to a mutually agreeable understanding. Although the mediator cannot represent either party, she can draft an Agreement that will ultimately become the crux of the divorce judgment.
Who Can Participate in Divorce Mediation?
Any two parties who have made the decision to divorce. All that is required for participation in divorce mediation is a mutual willingness to work collaboratively with the intention of resolving a divorce dispute in the most private, dignified, and cost efficient way. In the event that, despite best efforts, individuals are not able to reach a full agreement via divorce mediation, the work in progress can still be invaluable, providing a basis from which the parties’ individual counsel can work.
What are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation?
With divorce mediation, the financial and emotional costs typically associated with divorce are substantially reduced! With standard litigated divorces, both parties typically retain individual counsel for what is often a belabored, arduous, and expensive process. Mediation, on the other hand, is voluntary processes by which two people meet in a more relaxed environment, with an impartial third party, at days and times that are convenient to them rather than according to the Court’s dictates and limitations. The pace is set by the participants who are spared the frustration associated with court delays or imposed deadlines. Perhaps most importantly, divorce mediation occurs in the privacy of a mediator’s office, opposed to having issues disposed of in open court for all to see and hear.
In divorce mediation, parties retain control over their own lives and actively participate in creating an agreement that is specific to only them, versus relinquishing control to a stranger and allowing a Judge to make the most personal decisions on their behalf. In mediation, unlike in court, there are no surprises.
Is Divorce Mediation Possible?
Divorce mediation is designed to assuage the stress involved with the divorce process. In divorce mediation, the couple, assisted by a neutral third party, work together to decide on the terms of the divorce settlement. The third-party acts as an unbiased mediator to listen to the needs and wishes of both parties. Divorce mediation can be helpful in negotiating important issues such as child support, custody, alimony, and property division.
In divorce mediation, the couple is able to maintain a sense of control over the outcome of their divorce. Decisions are made by the couple through discussion, negotiation, and agreement, rather than by a judge. During divorce mediation, the mediator must remain unbiased and not advise either party in the divorce settlement. In many cases, it is very helpful to have a personal attorney present for the mediation sessions to protect your best interest.
Better Option for Parents
Divorce mediation can be a better option for children as well. Divorce is particularly tough on children and can be made less stressful by showing that the parents can still work together to achieve mutual agreements. Any agreements made about the children during the divorce mediation must be evaluated and approved by a family law judge. The courts have the final say in all matters related to the children and will always judge with their best interests in mind.
When divorce issues can be resolved through mediation, the financial and emotional costs of divorce are often mitigated. Electing to use divorce mediation, however, does not mean that you forfeit your right to court proceedings. Often, issues will arise in the divorce mediation sessions on which both parties are unable to agree. In these cases, a judge can decide the issues in the conflict.
While divorce mediation can be a good option for some, it is not a feasible option for everyone. Couples who cannot agree over the terms of the divorce, those who have experienced any form of abuse during the marriage, and those with other contentions may not benefit from divorce mediation. It is always helpful to confer with a qualified divorce attorney who can determine the best way to protect and maximize your legal interests.
Is Divorce Mediation for Me? Five Reasons to Consider Divorce Mediation
1. Divorce Mediation is Less Expensive
A litigated divorce typically lasts for months, sometimes even years depending on just how contentious things become, and has the potential of costing the parties tens of thousands of dollars. With mediation, the work is done outside of Court, thus eliminating the need for multiple court appearances and competing attorneys. The parties pay one retainer to the mediator and share the cost of an hourly rate for the mediators’ sessions;
2. Divorce Mediation Gives YOU Control
When a divorce is litigated, parties are choosing to put their fate in the hands of a stranger; a Judge, who will ultimately make decisions based on limited information offered at the time of trial. With mediation, the parties retain control. They will decide what is best for them, their family, their children and their future;
3. Divorce Mediation is Civil
Divorce mediation relies on participants adopting a reasonable and respectful demeanor for the purpose of efficiently and effectively working thorough the issues of their divorce. Unlike litigation that often encourages controversy, mediation promotes cooperation, the result of which is less emotional strain for everyone;
4. Divorce Mediation Is Private
When a divorce is litigated, it is commonly heard in open court. The intimate details of the parties’ lives will be divulged and contemplated by perfect strangers; income and assets will be freely discussed; and particulars regarding the children of the marriage will be disclosed. With mediation, privacy is fully preserved; parties will work through their issues and the details of their divorce behind closed doors;
5. Divorce Mediation Fosters a Better Future
The toll of a long and expensive litigated divorce can be insurmountable for those involved and often leaves the parties feeling resentful long after the divorce has entered. With mediation, there is civil process designed to promote a more dignified end, whereby future encounters between the parties are likely to be healthier as well. This is particularly beneficial when there are children involved who will depend on their parents’ willingness and ability to appropriately interact for many years to follow.