Divorce Mediation and Its Benefits
Sometimes, couples wish to avoid attorneys when they seek an amicable divorce; they might fear that a judge will perceive their involvement in a divorce proceeding as adversarial. However, consider this: Even in an amicable divorce, you still must fully understand your legal obligations and rights, such as the type and quantity of all marital debts and assets held by both you and your partner. In amicable divorces, it is usually preferable that an amicable divorce mediator is present to mediate the differences and forgo any legal battle.
Sometimes, when both spouses are too emotionally upset and do not have the strength to negotiate an agreement, the divorce mediator serves as an impartial third party. He or she has no feelings either for one spouse or the other and thus is able to help the spouses communicate their needs and concerns to one another. The divorce mediator also helps them focus on issues by asking questions and recording them for future reference. If problems persist into the final years of the marriage, both spouses can choose to go to counseling with an independent therapist. This counselor will assist them in coming to terms with their divorce, especially if divorce mediation fails to produce results.
There are many reasons why amicable divorce mediators may want to work with couples. For example, there are many couples where one spouse has filed for divorce and then later realized that the situation may not have been ideal. When this happens, it is often beneficial for the parties to try mediation before a judge does, because then they can establish what is to be expected in the future. For these reasons, many couples who wish to reach an agreement before a judge may also wish to consult with divorce mediators.
Mediation is helpful when both parties to the divorce may want a quick final resolution. In this instance, divorce attorneys may not be helpful. Attorneys who represent both parties have a tendency to want to represent the party who is financially stronger and, therefore, try to get the maximum share of the settlement, even if it is not in the best interests of the client being represented. Because the parties do not agree on all issues, divorce attorneys may choose to withdraw from the case.
However, mediation is not for everyone. If one or both spouses are not interested in reaching a settlement over issues with a divorce mediation, they should be prepared to take the mediation process to court. The decision to pursue litigation will come down to the preference of each individual. One important factor to consider here is that litigation is often very costly. It may even mean that the remaining spouse pays the costs of litigation and the attorney’s fees.
Another reason why some people decide to skip mediation would be because the spouses are not able to arrive at an agreement. In some cases, the spouses may have different opinions regarding the division of the couple’s assets, children, and debts. Further, the couple may have very different ideas about how property and child custody should be determined. For instance, one party may be insistent that the litigation be followed to the fullest extent possible and may be unwilling to give up a penny’s worth of leverage in order to reach that goal. In these cases, if mediation would not result in a satisfactory settlement, divorce mediation would not likely help at all.
In addition to the foregoing reasons that people decide against divorce mediation, there are also other benefits to the parties involved. For instance, through divorce mediation, both parties can learn more about each other without ever having to go to court. This is extremely beneficial in the building of a solid relationship, as the parties will be able to more clearly understand each other’s needs and desires. Also, divorce mediation allows the parties to resolve any disputes that may be pending between them, which can add a great deal of value to a final settlement.
However, one must keep in mind that even when couples decide to use divorce mediation as a means to an end, they still retain their legal rights and responsibilities to one another. Mediation does not eliminate or diminish the couples’ legal rights to pursue the litigation in court if they choose to do so. In fact, the courts do not require divorce mediation in order to provide full and fair resolutions of family issues, such as child custody, asset division, and Alimony (alimony payments). Because every case is different, it is imperative that couples discuss all options with qualified divorce lawyers before moving forward.