What are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation?
The benefits of divorce mediation are plenty. Divorce mediation is one of the fastest growing areas for couples who desire 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 often 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 in their individual case. There are several benefits of mediation to include: (1) control, (2) creativity, (3) confidentiality, (4) speed, (5) voluntariness and (6) cost reduction.
One of the substantial benefits of divorce mediation is that it gives couples control over their future rather than leaving the decision to a court. A judge will never know as much about the parties lives and priorities as the parties themselves. Many couples would rather resolve issues to their satisfaction instead of having a judge decide for them, This include issues such as how you will raise your children and manage your money. Additionally, mediation offers a private forum for discussing differences rather than the very public venue of the courtroom.
Spouses can be very creative in fashioning their own agreement to accommodate the specific needs and desires of their lives and family. Financial savings, faster resolution and avoidance of the severe emotional stress associated with a “court battle” are also benefits of divorce mediation. 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.
Another one of the benefits of divorce mediation is that 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. Having entered into a voluntary agreement in mediation, parties generally have a higher satisfaction level. This creates an atmosphere for better future communication and a higher probability that agreements will be kept and also a reduced potential for future legal action, which means cost reduction.
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 litigation attorney fees 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.
Mediation is voluntary and can proceed at your pace. The length of time depends on the parties’ cooperation, issue complexity and commitment. You may reach a settlement in one to five meetings. The duration of the meetings is up to you. Conferences may last two or more hours and accomplish a great deal. It is not uncommon for a successful mediation to conclude in less than 15 hours.
Mediation is usually more cost effective and takes less time. In contrast, 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 mediation. In the adversarial process, expense is incurred for communications between counsel and their clients and in preparing communications and documents. This process can be much more expensive and time-consuming.
If you have questions about mediation or the best approach for your situation Florida mediator Judith Goldberg can assist you through every step of the process in Palm Beach & Broward County, FL