What is divorce mediation?

  • Jun 10 2018

Going through divorce is a difficult experience that can become more trying if the proceeding becomes contentious. For those couples who are willing and able to put aside the acrimony, there is an alternative to litigation — divorce mediation. If you are considering a divorce, an experienced family law attorney can help you determine if mediation is a good option for you. Let’s take a look at how the process works.

Divorce Mediation Basics

Divorce mediation is a form alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, works with the spouses to resolve the key issues in the divorce. This includes the division of marital property, child custody and parenting time, and child support. Rather than going to court, the spouses work with the mediator to reach a negotiated settlement, a quicker and less expensive approach than litigating the divorce.

Because a divorce litigation often involves a lengthy discovery period, both parties may accumulate legal expenses and experience prolonged emotional stress. In a divorce mediation, however, the parties are often able to resolve their issues in few sessions and reach an agreement. In order for mediation to work, however, both spouses must be able to fully participate in the process and negotiate in good faith.

Ultimately, divorce mediation is designed to foster empathy and understanding between the spouses, and enable them to have a mature discussion, rather than a heated battle. Moreover, the spouses have the opportunity to work through the divorce amicably, while raising their children and minimizing the emotional harm they may experience. Finally, when the spouses cooperate, they have a chance to move on with their lives more quickly.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is another form of alternative dispute resolution, but does not involve a mediator. Instead, the spouses and their attorneys collaborate with a team of financial professionals and child psychologists to resolve the divorce. The parties must agree in writing to resolve the matter without litigation. If they are unable to reach a settlement and court intervention becomes necessary, the parties must find new attorneys.

The Takeaway

Because taking a divorce case to court can be both an emotional and financial burden, divorce mediation and collaborative divorce have become more widely used by couples seeking to end their marriages amicably. Regardless of the forum you choose, litigation, mediation or collaborative divorce, an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the process.

Posted in: Family Law