Spouses considering divorce face significant challenges. The emotional toll divorce takes on a family can often turn divorce proceedings into bitter courtroom battles. For those who can afford to explore a conflict-free divorce, mediation is an option.
Mediation is a legal process where disputing parties work together to draft a resolution instead of being handed a ruling from a judge. There are many benefits to using mediation to draft divorce agreements.
Benefits of a mediated divorce
When a couple files for divorce, the couple can ask for mediation or the judge may recommend it. Mediation provides a divorcing couple the following privileges:
- Confidentiality: Not all people realize that all civil cases, including divorces, are matters of public record. Anything spoken aloud in a courtroom during a divorce may return in a future dispute. Mediated proceedings are confidential — the drafted agreement is the only record.
- Convenience: A court may schedule a civil divorce case months or even years into the future. Mediated negotiations can happen at any convenient neutral location and at a time that is best for all parties. Sometimes, a judge may rule for mediation because of an overloaded courtroom schedule.
- Choice of mediator: A couple may choose their mediator, a neutral third party who guides the negotiations. The mediator’s goal is to lead each spouse to a place of mutual understanding and empathy, and to help a couple draft a divorce agreement that satisfies everyone. The mediator may teach communication and collaboration skills that can help spouses, especially co-parents, maintain a respectful working relationship.
- Zero court fees: Mediated negotiations take place outside of a courtroom, so the court will not charge the couple any associated fees. Some courts may even pay for the costs of a mediator and many lawyers charge reduced rates for mediation.
- Better results: Mediation also produces better resolutions. Spouses who work together are generally more pleased with the outcome and more likely to uphold their end of the bargain. Comprehensive divorce agreements will even draft rules for resolving future disputes.
A local lawyer can help
Individuals with questions about how mediation can work for their divorce may find answers with a local attorney familiar with family law. A lawyer can guide a couple through the dense paperwork of a divorce and help them find solid footing on the other side.