If your marriage is headed toward divorce, you might conjure images of hard-fought battles that are laced with contentiousness and harsh statements. But your marriage dissolution doesn’t have to head to trial in a full-blown adversarial process. Instead, you can explore alternative processes that could lead to a more positive outcome for you and your children. One of the best options at your disposal is divorce mediation.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process where you try to settle your divorce through negotiations without the need for taking your case to trial. Here, a neutral individual serves as a mediator, tasked with helping the parties navigate the issues they’re facing and finding common ground to move toward resolution. You can choose to mediate all divorce legal issues you’re facing, or you could focus on mediating some issues while reserving others for litigation.
What are the benefits of mediation?
There are many advantages to divorce mediation. Here are some of them:
- Less contentiousness: With a mediator steering the conversation, parties to a divorce mediation often find that the process is more peaceful. This can lead to less stress for you and your children, leaving you feeling confident about your future.
- More time-efficient: Because the focus of divorce mediation is on finding common ground and resolution, it’s often a quicker route to resolution than litigation. This can save you a lot of time and money.
- You retain control: When your divorce is litigated, it can feel like things are spinning out of control and that your future is left in the hands of a judicial officer who doesn’t know anything about you other than what’s been presented in court. During mediation, though, you and your spouse can keep control over the outcome of your divorce, even if you have to compromise on certain issues.
- Details of your marriage are kept private: There might be some sensitive information about your marriage that you don’t want to be widely known. If your case is litigated in court, those matters will become part of the public record. Through mediation, on the other hand, you’re able to keep those issues confidential. This confidentiality can provide a sense of security, thereby providing the parties with comfort to talk about what they need to in order to find resolution.
- A greater likelihood of adherence to the final decree: Ultimately, you want a divorce decree that is fair, favorable, and easily enforceable. When the court issues a decree after contentious litigation, one side might feel like they were cheated. This can create resentment and, at some point, non-compliance with the terms of the divorce decree. Through a mediated divorce, though, the parties are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome and they know what to expect moving forward. This means that the parties are much more likely to remain in compliance with the terms of the mediated agreement.
Is divorce mediation right for you?
That’s a question that only you can answer. Before deciding, you should make sure you have a full understanding of the process and what it can and can’t do for you. After all, mediation isn’t right for everyone, and you don’t want to get trapped in a process that wastes your time and energy.
So, as you ready yourself to navigate the road ahead, be sure to read as much as you can about your divorce options and how to position yourself for success. This preparation can seem overwhelming at times, but it’s the best way to protect your interests and your future.