Benefits Of Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation stands out as one of the fastest growing areas for couples who would like a non-adversarial divorce because litigation can be expensive and protracted. In mediation, the parties become problem solvers with the help of a mediator who is trained to facilitate an agreement. Spouses will discuss all of the issues that pertain to their case to include important and sometimes sensitive issues such as child custody, child support, parental time sharing, property division, division of debts, and alimony.  All of these issues can be solved by the parties themselves with the help of their mediators. Couples have the opportunity in mediation to explore options, make proposals, and cooperate in sharing ideas with the goal of reaching a final settlement that works best for the parties.

Spouses can be very creative in fashioning their own agreement to accommodate the specific needs and desires of their lives and family. Couples also find benefits of mediation to be financial savings, faster resolution and avoidance of the severe emotional stress associated with a “court battle.” More and more couples are choosing mediation over the adversarial process.  Mediation is a win-win situation. It can take place before, during or after a divorce action is started.

Divorce Mediation Is Confidential

Mediation is a confidential process. This means that the statements and communications made during mediation sessions are not used in any other forum unless agreed upon by the parties or required by law. Confidentiality allows the parties to be candid with one another and permits disclosure and honesty without fear of having that information used against a party in the future.

Mediation offers the parties the opportunity to create the best settlement agreement for them, as opposed to having a judge decide the issues for them. Many couples would rather resolve issues to their satisfaction instead of having a judge decide for them to include issues such as how you will raise your children and manage your money. A court will never know as much as you do about your own situation.

Having entered into a voluntary agreement in mediation, parties generally have a high level of satisfaction with their mediated settlements. This creates an atmosphere for future communication and a higher probability that agreements will be kept and usually a reduction in the potential for future legal actions, which means a reduction of future costs.

Divorce Mediation Is Faster

Mediation is often faster. The first mediation normally can be scheduled within days of the initial telephone consultation. Usually mediation costs are a fraction of mediation attorney fees associated with litigation and the process is more informal, relaxed and less adversarial. A successful mediation will conclude with a comprehensive written agreement that resolves all relevant issues – to include parenting, custody and financial issues, insurance, equitable distribution, support, college and other issues as well. In order to end the marital relationship a court must still enter a final decree or judgment dissolving your marriage.

There are a number of ways to have court documents prepared. One option is to prepare the required forms which are available at the court clerk’s office. Form instructions are also available. The second option is to have someone prepare the forms for you, such as a mediator or an mediation attorney. That is your choice. If you have a MEDIATED DIVORCE your divorce will be UNCONTESTED and then together with the other court documents that are required, you will also be filing a Marital Settlement Agreement that has been completed with your mediator.

Mediation Is Voluntary

Mediation is a completely voluntary process and can proceed at your pace. The length of time it takes depends on the parties’ participation, the complexity of the issues and commitment of the parties. You may reach a settlement in one to five meetings. The duration of the meetings is up to you and the mediator. Conferences may last two or more hours and accomplish a great deal in that time. It is not uncommon for a successful mediation to conclude in less than 15 hours.

Mediation Is Less Costly

Mediation is usually more cost effective and takes less time to complete. Conversely, in litigation significant time is spent in gathering information to formulate positions in settlement negotiations and preparing for trial. Gathering, analyzing and exchanging documents and financial information through the “discovery process” is typically more extensive in scope than what occurs in a mediation. In the adversarial process, billable time is incurred for communications between counsel and their clients and in preparing communications and documents. Each mediation attorney must gather financial information from the other party’s counsel, communicate with his or her client and with opposing counsel, and draft and redraft proposals and agreements. This process can be much more expensive and time consuming.

Judith Goldberg, Attorney & Mediator.   Connect With Judith