Between splitting assets, establishing child custody and determining alimony payments, divorcing couples have a lot of questions. The prospect of divorce intimidates many spouses, especially when imagining the dramatic conflict of a courtroom. Thankfully, spouses can avoid a judge’s courtroom by using mediation instead of litigation for their divorce.
Mediation comes with many benefits in resolving civil disputes but works particularly well for divorcing couples. Before filing, spouses can consult with an attorney to see if mediation is right for them.
Mediation offers several benefits
Couples who have a history of domestic abuse or other difficulties leading to hostility, judges are not likely to recommend mediation. However, if a couple requests a mediated negotiation, a judge is likely to approve. Couples can expect the following benefits:
- Choice of mediator: Couples will together choose a neutral third-party to serve as mediator. A mediator will facilitate respectful and constructive discussion to draft a divorce agreement that satisfies both parties. Mediators teach listening, communication and empathy to help each spouse understand the concerns of the other.
- Confidentiality: Courtroom cases become a matter of public record, with everything said recorded by a court reporter. In future disputes, attorneys can pull evidence from these records, rehashing old wounds. Mediated negotiations remain sealed, preventing children from learning anything unfortunate their parents said to each other.
- Convenient schedule: In traditional litigation, disputing parties are subject to the court schedule, sometimes delaying proceedings months or even years. An overpacked calendar may inspire a judge to rule for mediation in a divorce case. Without the need for a courtroom, mediation can occur in any neutral location and at a pace that better suits the couple.
- More affordable: Since mediation does not require a courtroom, a court will not charge a couple for court fees. Sometimes, a court may even cover the costs of a mediator. Attorneys generally charge lower rates for mediation, as well.
- Greater satisfaction with resolutions: Many couples report greater satisfaction with mediated resolutions than rulings handed down from a judge. Because spouses work together to draft agreements, their compromises are on their terms. Voluntarily agreeing to conditions and expectations allows couples to feel more in control of the situation and motivated to hold up their end of the bargain.
Consult with an attorney about mediation
Spouses with questions about mediating their divorce can find answers with a local attorney familiar with family law. Securing legal counsel lends professional experience to drafting agreements to divide assets fairly and build a comprehensive parenting plan.