You and your spouse have decided to split and now you’re riddled with questions. Not only are you dealing with the emotional aspect of ending a marriage, but you have no experience with divorce and are not sure what to expect.
After talking it over with your soon–to-be-ex, you agree that settling out of court is preferred. The idea of mediation has come up but you’re unfamiliar with the specifics of it. How does it work? Do a lot of divorcing couples use it?
Let’s start with the basics, what is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process in which you and your spouse decide the terms of your divorce. Mediation is a popular method for settling a divorce because it allows you complete control over how your divorce is finalized.
How does mediation work?
In divorce mediation, a neutral third-party, called a mediator, is hired to meet with you and your spouse to discuss and help resolve issues in your divorce. During your meetings, the mediator will facilitate communication between you two, ensuring each party has the opportunity to speak openly and uninterrupted. The mediator may ask questions to gather more information and prompt further discussion; they also might ask you to clarify or explain a point to keep communication clear and understood.
As stated above, a mediator is a neutral third-party; they are not there to take sides. If you’re looking for validation or someone to agree with you, mediation may not be your best option. A mediator can also provide helpful information about the legal system and how a judge or lawyer might view an issue.
The goal of divorce mediation is to reach an agreed upon resolution of your marriage.
What are the benefits of mediation?
There are many benefits to mediation; the fact that it’s more cost effective is among the most noted. Other desirable benefits include quicker settlements, a collaborative process, control over the outcome, more personalized attention, greater flexibility and protecting your children from further conflict.
What if you can’t agree on certain issues?
The point of mediation is to reach a final resolution that works for both of you. However, it’s unrealistic to believe that you will agree on everything. If certain issues seem to be holding up the process, consider drawing up an agreement for all settled matters and litigate or arbitrate the remaining ones.