Divorce Mediation – What Does it Mean?
Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process utilized frequently and successfully by many married couples wishing to divorce, both by domestic partners wishing to separate and by attorneys who wish to resolve the marital issue through this method. The main advantage of divorce mediation over other dispute resolution strategies is that it is a much quicker process. It can also be less expensive, as well as more private than court proceedings. While it does require a high level of skill on the part of both parties, mediation can result in the final dissolution of a marriage very quickly, with no need for a lengthy trial or any other issues that are technical in nature.
There are certain advantages to using divorce mediation, however. One of these advantages is that it can help to create a more positive and long-lasting relationship between the parties. As the process works through, couples can learn a lot about each other without having to take the time to go to trial, where neither party really knows anything about the other, and where the potential for abuse is very real. In some instances, one spouse may even learn about something that the other spouse has done to them in anger, leading to a reconciliation that was never possible prior to the mediation.
Another advantage to divorce mediation is that it allows each spouse to have the upper hand during negotiations, making the ultimate settlement much more likely to be favorable to them. If one spouse feels as though they were taken advantage of during negotiations, they may be willing to admit their shortcomings and agree to a settlement that offers them some compensation. Conversely, if a spouse feels as though they were poorly treated throughout the mediation process, they are more likely to fight any settlement arrangements to make themselves the absolute victor. When both spouses are willing to accept responsibility for their part in the marital problem, the final settlement will benefit everyone. This is because everyone involved will walk away feeling as if they have received a fair deal.
A third advantage to divorce mediation is that it can resolve a lot of the underlying issues that lead to a divorce in the first place. One of the most common reasons why couples divorce is a problem regarding money, which can be remedied during mediation. Without a doubt, each spouse feels entitled to the amount of alimony or other financial payments that the court has ordered. However, both parties may be hesitant to present these issues to a judge, due to the possibility of further emotional pain and suffering.
In addition, the presence of an attorney during a divorce mediation can provide an impartial third party to the situation. Often, the presence of attorneys will result in the spouses agreeing to disagree on certain issues, which will make the final hearing much more manageable. Even if an attorney is not present, however, the mediators are skilled at identifying the appropriate issues to bring to the courtroom. Mediation can also be a good idea when there are significant issues regarding property, child custody, visitation rights, and other financial concerns. Because the mediators work with the attorneys on both sides of the issue to arrive at an agreement, they often have an unbiased opinion.
Sometimes, an attorney and a mediator might arrive at a different resolution regarding the division of assets or child custody. This happens less frequently, however, because the spouses typically never discuss their situation with a third party. There is also the option of hiring an attorney for each party, but this might not always be an effective method. Often, the attorneys try to be more persistent with the mediator than they are with the spouses. This can be counterproductive and make the process more difficult for both parties.
Because the process can be quite lengthy, many couples choose to avoid the courthouse for a quick final resolution. In some cases, when the spouses and their attorneys reach an agreement on all terms, they choose to file paperwork in the small claims court in their area. However, if the judge rules in favor of one party or the other, he or she may require both spouses to go to a courthouse for final arguments. If this occurs, attorneys representing the same spouse do not have to inform the other spouse that the divorce has been finalized.
Mediation can be a very positive experience for all involved. It allows each person to get the “veil of privacy” that they need to work out an agreement. It also helps avoid costly trial attorneys, keeps attorneys’ fees low, and enables spouses to focus on the important matters of raising and supporting a family. The judge will usually request that the spouses agree to a trial date, but many find that scheduling the trial date is inconvenient. Regardless of whether or not a trial is required, divorce mediation can be a wonderful way to amicably divide up the couple’s assets and determine which parent gets custody of the children.