Divorce mediation is one of the solutions you can explore if you and your soon-to-be-ex plan to divorce. It is described as one of the best alternatives to formal litigation in a divorce court, which is often antagonistic, costly, and stressful, even to the children.
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse meet a court-appointed neutral third-party, the divorce mediation attorney near me. With their help, you can end your marriage as amicably as possible. In this process, issues covered include but are not limited to these:
- Child custody and parenting
- Child support
- Property distribution
- Retirement and taxes
Mediation is an adaptable and holistic approach to divorce that aims at reaching an agreement that works for everyone – without spending your kids’ college fees on attorney fees or litigation costs, or spending too much time in court. Any divorce case, or rather any family law matter can be handled well through mediation.
What Makes Mediation Attractive?
Saves Time and Money
If your mediation is successful, it means you would have evaded the litigation process in court. This means that the process for the parties is shortened and also helps clear the load in our family courts.
Confidentiality in the Process
Mediation does not have a court reporter who records every uttered word. Once your mediation process is concluded, the notes taken by your mediator are discarded. You don’t have to worry about having your private matters displayed in public since virtually anyone can sit in court and listen to your divorce case.
Fair for Everyone
The divorce mediation attorney is a third party who has no interest in the process’ outcome. Since they come with the objectivity, they can see and find solutions the divorcing couples might not have seen on their own.
The Divorcing Couple Has Control
In a formal divorce case in court, you are at the mercy of a family court judge. You enjoy a certain level of flexibility to resolve your conflict. This is extremely vital, especially if you have kids and want them to interact with both of you post-divorce.
A Voluntary Process
Unlike a case in front of a judge, mediation will continue for so long as the three parties want it to.
How Long Does Mediation Last And What Are The Costs?
The length of a mediation process depends on what issues were agreed upon before the mediation process started. This timeframe will also depend on the two divorcing spouses’ willingness to reach an agreement that is both fair and equitable to the whole family, including the kids.
In some cases, soon to be ex-spouses come into the mediation process, having a ready agreement, thus cutting down the time negotiating. However, it’s best to have a third party as you negotiate to avoid arguments.
The average mediated case in 2005 took 90 days and cost $3000. Conversely, average formal litigation in court in the same year took 18 months to conclude and cost $15,000. Unlike mediation, not so many people who have gone through the formal court process walked away feeling satisfied.
Preparing for Divorce Mediation
Agree to Mediate
This process is voluntary in most states. The first step would be to agree to it in good faith. You don’t have to be the best of friends to come to the table.
If any of you feels forced into this, it will backfire, and you will waste your time and effort.
Do Your Homework
Work closely with your divorce attorney near me to make sure all issues will be covered. Ensure that everything you will be mediating is captured. Also, make a master list of all your assets and possessions. Talk to your attorney to help you submit a financial affidavit as it is needed in most state courts.
Once you know what the marriage has, the next step would be to figure out what your future will look like. This stage might be difficult, but you have to figure out your range of acceptable terms and what you can live with or without.
If children are involved, try not to mix child issues with financial decisions. This is common, and many people may want to influence a financial position using child custody or visitation rights.
Prioritize Your Children
While children can be resilient, it’s still important to minimize the negative impacts of divorce. Children still need both parents even after their parents’ divorce. When negotiating for custodial rights, think about the best interests of the child.
Learn to co-parent effectively early on, and it will help you years later.
Do a Research of Mediators
Not everyone who calls him/herself a mediator is trained in mediation. Yes, mediation has indeed gained considerable traction over the last decade, but initially, it was thought of as a taboo. The demand for mediation has grown, but the regulations to monitor mediators and hold them accountable have not caught up.
Misconceptions about Divorce Mediation
Mediation Won’t Work In High Conflict Cases
This is a common myth we’ve heard.
While it is true that two people who are too emotional cannot sit down to talk, in mediation, they work with a neutral third party that is experienced and professionally trained to resolve issues among couples. An experienced mediator near me has the skills to help couples focus on matters at hand rather than on things that happened in the past that caused the breakdown of the marriage.
A mediation process could also include a family therapist or marriage counselor if it is a high conflict case.
A Mediator Makes the Decisions
That a mediator will act as a quasi-judge is a common misunderstanding about mediation. A mediator’s role isn’t to impose orders but rather give direction as the couple controls all decisions on the table.
You Don’t Need an Attorney in Mediation
Many people are surprised when they hear that they need to retain their consulting attorneys. Note that the role of a litigating attorney and a consulting attorney is very different.
Since a mediator is a neutral party, they cannot offer specific advice that captures each party’s best interests. Here, you can have a divorce attorney on a limited, as-needed basis for consultation and for legal advice on the best way to move forward.
Divorce in our court systems is designed to put a wall that limits communication between spouses. Unfortunately, it leads to many post-divorce problems, thousands of dollars spent in litigation fees, and many hours. Mediation is about working together, controlling your decisions, focusing on the kids’ best interests as you work towards being good co-parents.