As you consider divorce, you may have fears about how dissolution will affect your children, your finances, and your future. These are valid concerns. Consider a more customized and respectful alternative to traditional litigation – mediation.
Mediation is a fantastic alternative for many spouses contemplating divorce. Although better in many ways than an adversarial approach, there are specific factors that define if your case is well-suited for mediation.
A quick review will help you determine if mediation is right for you:
1. Respectful Communication
A foundational requirement for mediation is the spouses must be able to communicate respectfully with each other. In mediation, each spouse is listened to and given time to be heard. Both the spouses will present their goals, concerns, and issues during the discussion with your mediator. You will come to a settlement that is acceptable to both sides. Conflicts will arise, but both parties must be willing to resolve them through mutual understanding.
2. Disclosure Of Assets
If you are concerned that your spouse may be hiding assets and/or income, share this information with your mediator. Mediation requires full disclosure of assets, to reach an equitable outcome. Being informed about your family’s finances and assets is within your legal rights and the estate’s legal obligations. Fair settlements are based on both parties exchanging all their relevant financial information.
3. Participation Agreement
Each spouse will be asked to sign a Mediation Agreement before the process begins. Some specific financial documents that are required to be disclosed will be listed in the Mediation Agreement. The agreement also requires you to sign that all the information shared will remain confidential between the signees.
4. Privacy in Divorce
A key factor to choosing mediation is the parties want to keep things more agreeable, fiscally responsible, less stressful, and to remain amicable, post-divorce. During mediation, if the demands of one party become exceedingly dominant, the case may exit mediation and become a contested divorce. Your mediator’s goal is to keep you out of court and to resolve issues without the case becoming contested.
Between the parties, there will be different opinions on things such as business valuation, child custody, and asset division – your mediator will work with you to resolve these issues in a mutually beneficial way. The financial information is confidential even after the case ends, as mediation is a private settlement and is not publicly disclosed.
5. Family Relations
Mediation works in the best interest of the family. Therapists, divorce coaches, financial planners, and family law attorneys can team up together to identify and fulfill the unique needs of your family. In mediation, this unique combination will make well-coordinated decisions that will be helpful in maintaining a good family environment (especially for the children) post-separation or divorce.
Divorce changes the structure of a family. It is important that you maintain good parenting through the process of divorce, whether through mediation or during litigation. Make your children your priority and make decisions with your future in mind. The benefits of mediation far outweigh the monetary waste, protracted length, and emotional toll of combative litigation.
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