Divorce mediation is a cost-effective, less-disruptive way of finding solutions to child custody, spousal support and asset division during the emotional process of dissolution. A mediator acts as an alternative to the expensive, lengthy and formal process of court litigation.
During mediation, the mediator assists the couple in negotiating resolution terms in their divorce. Parties have the opportunity to openly discuss the issues, clear up any disagreements, and come to a compromise that is feasible for both.
A mediator is an objective party. It is not their job to resolve problems, or to force an agreement on the parties. The mediator helps the parties come to an agreement by acting as an intermediary. As such, they may offer an opinion or make suggestions, but they do not force any agreement(s) upon the divorcing parties.
Advantages of Divorce Mediation
Saving time and money. When successful, mediation means avoiding the formal process of litigation and court. This shortens the process, emotional toll and financial cost for the parties.
Mediation is fair to all concerned. The mediator is a third party who has no vested interest in the outcome; they are a neutral party. Because of their objectivity, they may be able to see solutions and options that the parties cannot because they are not emotionally invested in the outcome.
Mediation is a confidential process. There is no court process and your final documents remain private. In formal divorce litigation, all court paperwork becomes a matter of public record.
The divorcing couple is in control of the outcome, and not at the mercy of a divorce court judge. In mediation, nothing is forced upon the parties.
Mediation is not a formal legal proceeding, so there is no pretrial discovery. If you believe that your spouse may be hiding assets, openly discuss this with your mediator as a part of the mediation process.
Mediation puts both parties on a level playing field, no matter what the dynamic during the marriage. If there is a history of abuse in the family and/or the relationship, mediation can be challenging when it comes to negotiating a fair divorce settlement. If one or both spouses are unwilling to be cooperative, mediation may not be successful. Mediation is about what will happen in the future, not what happened in the past.
How to Prepare for Divorce Mediation
Do your homework. Work with your mediator to ensure that all issues to be covered will have a fair and equal outcome. During mediation, you will determine child support, spousal support, division of investment assets, marital property and communal debt.
Beware of your future needs after a divorce. Work on a post-divorce budget and go into mediation committed to negotiate a fair financial settlement during the mediation process.
If you have minor children together, they should be the main concern of the negotiations. Parents cannot go into divorce mediation with the idea of destroying the other party if there are children involved. Children do best when both parents are committed to co-parenting, and to exiting their divorce financially and emotionally stable.
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