Divorce can be a messy, time consuming, and draining experience. Yet, despite what you see on television or how you may be feeling regarding your own impending divorce, it doesn’t have to be this way. One of the best ways to avoid a costly and laborious divorce by trial is through a process called divorce mediation.
Divorce mediation is a process that allows couples who have decided to end their marriage to meet with a specially-trained, neutral third-party to settle common divorce-related issues. Mediation allows you to discuss and resolve issues like child custody, alimony, property division, and more without ever stepping into a courtroom. You can attend mediation sessions on your own or with your attorney present—often mediation is flexible enough to allow you and your spouse to proceed in a way that makes everyone feel most comfortable.
There are numerous benefits to choosing mediation over traditional divorce, including:
- Divorce mediation is far less expensive and time consuming than divorce court.
- Most mediations end in a fair settlement. If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement, you still have the legal right to move things to trial.
- Unlike divorce, there is no public record of mediation on file, meaning you can handle things confidentially.
- You and your spouse have more control over the resolution, rather than leaving everything in the hands of a judge.
- You and your spouse may become better at resolving conflicts, preventing future disputes (which is especially helpful if you share children).
- You can still hire a lawyer to provide legal advice, representation, and other assistance (such as help reviewing terms and filling out paperwork).
Of course, mediation won’t work for everyone. If your separation is particularly contentious or you feel unsafe around your spouse, you may want to take a more traditional route to divorce.
For example, mediation probably won’t work for couples in situations involving:
- Domestic violence and other forms of abuse
- A spouse who isn’t agreeable to the idea of divorce
- Major disagreements, including those involving child custody and finances
If, however, you and your spouse are on relatively good terms and are both agreeable to the idea of a divorce, mediation just might be the best option for you. To learn more about the different divorce options available to you and your partner, reach out to a local family law attorney for assistance.