Divorce mediation is among the most commonly used techniques of dealing with a divorce. In divorce mediation, you or your spouse, or in certain cases both of you, and your respective attorneys or a neutral third person, known as a mediator, meet in an attempt to discuss and hopefully settle all the issues in a divorce. The mediator’s goal is to help both people reach an agreement about the important issues such as custody, child support, spousal support and the division of assets and debts among other things. Divorce mediation is extremely useful where there are children involved and they need to be properly cared for after the divorce. A mediator will help them remain calm during the process and can offer valuable advice and guidance to them as well.
There are many advantages to divorce mediation that outweigh the possible disadvantages. One of those advantages is that it takes a lot less time than a long drawn out litigation process. The process requires fewer documents, witness interviews, doctor visits and depositions. Also, once the case has been settled, there isn’t a need for a trial date and the case doesn’t have to be presented to a jury. These factors help to shave considerable amount of time off the lengthy and expensive litigation process.
Another advantage to divorce mediation is that it reduces your spouse’s cost of going to trial. In negotiating a divorce settlement, your attorney generally represents you in court and then makes several visits to your home, your workplace and other locations to negotiate your position and try to come up with an agreeable settlement that both you and your spouse can agree on. Court fees, filing fees, a trial date and even the cost of having your case heard by a judge all add up very quickly. By using mediation, your attorney can cut these costs and use that money to help you with the other aspects of your case.
In some cases it may be difficult to find a good mediator to represent you. You should shop around for at least two or three mediators before choosing one to represent you. If possible, use an attorney who specializes in divorce mediation. Although most attorneys do have expertise in this area, some specialize in only certain types of mediation. Also, it is important to hire an attorney who is experienced and has a good record of achieving good results for their clients.
Although you should choose a divorce mediator that suits your needs and desires, don’t expect that the mediators will know everything that you wish to be told. Many divorcing couples say that the mediators were very thorough, but were unable to resolve their differences. Remember, each spouse has their own interests and goals in this situation and the divorce mediator cannot know what your priorities are. You will still be best served if you fully discuss your needs with your spouse, but be aware that not all issues can be resolved through the use of divorce mediation.
One of the main advantages of using mediation as a part of your divorce process is that it can reduce the amount of time needed to get through the litigation process. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that it allows both parties to become part of the solution rather than the problem. By utilizing the mediation process you will have the opportunity to take advantage of specialized information that only an attorney can provide. It also allows the parties time to become educated and to develop a strategy that is in their best interest.
Another advantage of mediation is that it allows both spouses to remain in contact with one another. With a divorce mediation for the spouses will have the opportunity to meet frequently, so they can continue to develop and communicate about the issues that they are faced with. It has been proven that divorce mediation leads to a more satisfactory settlement than would be achieved through a lengthy litigation process. Most attorneys feel that the average client who is presented with a divorce mediation plan by the opposing attorney is able to more easily understand the situation and come to a more balanced and reasonable accommodation. This is because most attorneys do not make themselves available to their clients on a daily basis; mediation is often much less invasive than a lengthy litigation process.
The primary disadvantage of divorce mediation is that it tends to occur after the parents have already decided how they will handle the dividing of the children. The sooner you begin to work out the details of the parenting plan before the process gets underway, the better your chances will be of reaching an agreement that is acceptable to all parties involved. If you or your spouse has filed for a divorce already, this may also affect the process. Even if you and/or your spouse have already filed for a divorce, the mediator should try to work out an agreement that both parties can agree on.