Is a Divorce Mediation the Right Choice for You?
For many people, the word “divorce” brings up images of a couple battling it out, fighting over who gets custody of the children, who gets the family home, and other issues like alimony and child support. While it is true that some couples who make the decision to end their marriage are at a high level of acrimony with each other while going through the divorce process, there are just as many couples – maybe more – who agree to end their marriage as cooperatively as possible. Today, more and more couples are turning to divorce mediation instead of traditional litigated divorce as a way to peacefully end their marriage and save money in the process.
What Is the Process for Divorce Mediation?
In litigated divorces, each spouse retains their own divorce attorney. Each attorney is there to advocate in their client’s best interest. The spouses and their attorneys will try to negotiate agreements on a variety of issues, including:
- Child custody and parenting time
- Division of assets
- Division of debts
- Property division
- Spousal support
If the spouses cannot come to an agreement on any of these issues, the parties take the case to family court, where a judge will make these decisions for them. In a litigated divorce, it is not uncommon for there to be multiple court hearings, depositions, interrogatories, and factors that all add up to a prolonged and expensive divorce process.
Mediated divorces, however, are much less adversarial than a litigated divorce. Mediation is a cooperative method of dispute resolution and that is the tone that is brought to the table by both parties when negotiating the end of the marriage.
In a mediated divorce, the couple works with a neutral third-party mediator who has been professionally trained to listen to both parties and help guide them through negotiations to reach an agreed-upon final resolution. Each spouse still has their own divorce attorneys to advise them during the mediation process, however, the attorneys are not present during the mediation sessions. Although the mediator is the one who controls the mediation process, it is the couple who controls the final outcome, unlike a litigated divorce, where the judge controls the final outcome.
In mediated divorces, the parties are able to negotiate any issue, including potential future issues, they feel are pertinent, something that family court judges don’t often address. The couple can come up with the solutions that respond to the unique needs of their children, while judges come up with solutions that are in accordance with the law. Coming up with agreements for future issues during the divorce helps avoid the need for having to go back to court several years later when those issues do present themselves.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
There are many benefits to choosing a mediated divorce over a litigated one:
- The costs for a mediated divorce are often significantly lower than litigated actions
- There is less stress, tension, and acrimony between the two spouses
- The couple have more control over the outcome and final resolution of their divorce
- The parties have more control over the pace and timeframe by which the divorce proceeds
- The cooperation the couple use in the mediation divorce process can carry forward into co-parenting
While many couples can benefit from divorce mediation, there are circumstances where traditional litigation is the better option. If the relationship between the couple is too contentious, it will likely be very difficult for them to be able to work together to reach an amicable divorce settlement. If there is a history of domestic violence, then the mediation process is not recommended.
If you and your spouse have made the decision to end your marriage, call our office to find out how we can help. The attorneys at our firm have the legal experience to perform the role of mediator or provide the legal advice you need as you work through the mediation process.
To learn more, call Kirshenbaum Law Associates at 401-467-5300 for a confidential consultation.