When couples want to end their marriages as amicably as possible, with a minimum of unnecessary conflict and expense, they often turn to mediation.
Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process that takes place outside of the traditional courtroom setting. Almost any divorce-related issue can be mediated, including child custody and visitation, asset division and spousal support.
During the divorce mediation process, the spouses work together with a third-party neutral called a mediator. The mediator guides the parties through the mediation process by identifying issues and providing structure to the conversation.
Finding mutually agreeable solutions
One of the most important things to know about mediation is that the mediator does not take sides and does not control the outcome. Unlike traditional divorce litigation, the outcome of the divorce mediation process is controlled primarily by the spouses themselves.
Because both spouses must enter the mediation process voluntarily and agree to negotiate with one another in good faith, there are certain situations in which divorce mediation may not be a good fit. However, when both individuals are committed to working toward a mutually agreeable outcome, the benefits of choosing divorce mediation can be enormous.
One of the main advantages of divorce mediation is its potential to reduce conflict during divorce and generate outcomes that are acceptable to everyone involved. Whereas traditional divorce litigation typically pits one spouse against the other, mediation is a collaborative process that emphasizes finding solutions that meet everyone's needs.
Because the mediation process helps couples part ways without unnecessary combativeness, it can be especially beneficial for spouses who plan to remain in contact with one another after parting ways - for instance because of co-parenting responsibilities or business relationships.
When a judge is asked to rule on an issue in a traditional divorce case, he or she must weigh the evidence presented by both parties and attempt to balance the interests of each spouse and those of any children involved. Unfortunately, this process often results in outcomes that are not particularly satisfactory to anyone.
Mediation avoids this risk by allowing divorcing couples to discuss their objectives in greater detail and create customized solutions with a much higher degree of flexibility than can typically be achieved through litigation.
Faster and less expensive
In addition to its many other potential benefits, divorce mediation is generally faster and less expensive than litigation. This can help facilitate a smoother transition out of marriage, allowing both parties to move on to the next stage of their lives with a minimum of emotional and financial fallout.
Divorcing couples who are interested in learning more about the mediation process are encouraged to contact an experienced divorce mediation lawyer to discuss whether it may be a good fit for their specific circumstances.