For most people, going through a divorce is an absolutely terrible experience. The legal process of divorce can be emotionally, not to mention financially, draining. Divorce mediation is becoming an increasingly popular way to resolve issues in a divorce in a less adversarial manner which can reduce stress and yield more mutually beneficial results. In divorce mediation, rather than both parties going to court and using a trial to resolve divorce issues, such as a property settlement, child support, and child custody, the parties will sit down with a neutral third party, called a mediator. The mediator helps both individuals come to a solution agreed upon by both parties
Divorce mediation offers many advantages to a couple working through a divorce. The divorce mediation almost always takes less time than litigating a divorce, especially for those couples who haven’t worked everything out in advance of the divorce. Divorce mediation also helps spouses tell each other what they want, without lawyers speaking for them or telling them what they should do.
Mediation helps spouses reduce the tension involved in a divorce. Also, couples who mediate are generally happier with the outcome than those who go to court, primarily because they feel like they were more directly involved in the outcome. The mediator can help couples with both immediate concerns and long-term concerns. Mediators can help focus couples on present issues, rather than bringing up hurts from the past that can be unproductive in reaching an agreement. Another benefit to mediation is that it is private, unlike a court case.
However, divorce mediation is not for everyone. If couples are behaving too poorly around each other to work together in the same room, mediation may not be the best bet. Some couples are dealing with spousal abuse or substance abuse. In those situations, it’s probably best for an attorney to speak on each spouse’s behalf.
Divorce mediation begins by learning more about the process. Next, the couple will gather information and provide it to the mediator. This primarily includes financial information such as assets owned, debts, bank accounts, automobiles, etc. Then, the issues that need to be resolved will be determined, such as division of property and debts, and child custody and support.
The couple will then begin to discuss concerns in the presence of the mediator. The couple will make decisions about the type of arrangements they want in a step by step manner. The divorce mediator should take care to make sure the needs of the children, as well as the spouses, are met. The mediator will help the couple explore various options available. Once an arrangement is agreed on, an attorney will draft it and the parties will sign.