Divorce Mediation and Its Advantages
By: Megan Mason
Divorce mediation is all about you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse determining what’s best for you both and more importantly, your kids. In mediation, you come together with your spouse and a neutral third-party, usually a mediator, to talk through the tough issues you have to resolve concerning your divorce. You talk about how you feel, and you take turns answering questions from the other person about why you feel the way you do. When you are done talking, the mediators normally suggest a divorce mediation agreement that both you and the other person can agree on.
When couples first start talking about divorce mediation, they may ask each other frequently asked questions, also known as FAQs. It’s important to gather as many FAQs as possible in order to understand what this process entails and to make informed decisions about whether or not it would be beneficial to use divorce mediation. Here are a few frequently asked questions about divorce mediation that you should know.
Q. How does divorce mediation differ from a traditional court proceeding? A. In the case of a divorce mediation, both parties are represented by their own divorce attorneys, so there are no hearings and no one has to testify about their side of the story; thus, no cross-examination is involved.
Q. Why is it less expensive than a divorce settlement? A. Because you’re not required to hire a lawyer, there is a greater possibility that both parties can reach an agreement regarding the terms of the divorce settlement on their own without needing to engage the services of a third-party mediator. This means that you could potentially save thousands of dollars by using divorce mediation instead of going through a full-blown divorce settlement.
Q. Are there any advantages to going through a divorce mediation rather than going to court? A. There are several, actually. First, mediation will likely lead to a more affordable divorce settlement because the attorneys who are representing both parties won’t need to pay fees for depositions, putting their own fees at a much lower rate. Second, divorce mediation usually results in a quicker settlement because there is significantly less time involved in the actual negotiation process; the time it takes to make an appointment with a judge for a pre-trial hearing is typically waived if the parties come to an agreement beforehand.
Q. Is there a difference between a” mediated” divorce mediation and a “contested divorce”? A. Yes, there is a difference–a mediated mediator works directly with each party’s attorney to arrive at an agreement, while a “contested divorce” (where the divorcing couple has to fight for approval of their own settlement) is where the lawyers try to broker an agreement outside of the court system.
Q. Why should I use divorce mediation? A. When considering whether or not to go to trial, many couples quickly recognize that having the ability to work out an agreement outside of the courthouse presents many significant advantages. While it may not be necessary for all divorces to go to trial, many couples find that going to trial can be particularly daunting and time-consuming, and they therefore choose to use divorce mediation instead.
Divorce mediation represents an excellent alternative to the cost and stress of a long litigation process in which one or both spouses may well lose the case. Many divorcing couples have found that divorce mediation reduced their stress level and cost significantly less than going to trial. When coupled with other divorce issues such as custody, alimony, child support, and other important divorce issues, divorce mediation provides an excellent method for most divorcing couples to achieve their desired outcomes.