Divorce Mediation – What You Should Know
By: Megan Mason
Divorce Mediation – What You Should Know
Divorce mediation is an alternative legal procedure commonly used successfully and efficiently by divorced couples who wish to finalize their divorce proceedings, with the assistance of their respective attorneys. Divorce mediation provides divorcing couples the opportunity to arrange their future schedules rationally, with an environment of mutual respect and trust. A mediator is professionally trained in the art of conflict resolution and is capable of imparting this skill to the divorcing couple. This impartial party is not in any way invested financially or emotionally in the outcome of the mediation process. In fact, most of the time, divorce mediation results in the spouses settling their differences without court action.
The concept of divorce mediation originated in the United States. It was first widely used in the 1980s, following a series of landmark divorce settlements. The first major case was the divorce settlement reached by the Parents oferer between themselves. A male spouse and female spouse in such a situation were unable to agree on the division of their property and obligations. Their professional mediation facilitated a successful outcome in which both parties’ needs were addressed and a marital settlement was arrived at. As a result, the US Department of Justice began to recognize the therapeutic value of divorce mediation.
Divorce mediation can be helpful for all parties, but especially for the divorcing spouses. If you are not represented in family law mediation sessions, your attorney will be able to advise and negotiate on your behalf. Your attorney will also ensure that your interests are safeguarded while your spouse is considering a settlement. Divorce mediation is much less expensive than having your divorce contested in court. You may also save money by avoiding the need to have a trial, if the two parties agree to mediation and reach an agreement on terms before a judge.
One very important reason to use divorce mediation rather than facing courtrooms is that it can be a much quicker process. If you have a good divorce attorney who can represent you in court, the divorce mediation should take place over a very short period of time, where the mediator can address all the concerns of both parties. In this way, both you and your spouse will be free from worry about any issues that require immediate attention. You can be confident that any issues will be adequately resolved prior to you appearing in court.
When you agree to a divorce mediation, it is also important that you come to the meeting with an open mind and a willingness to cooperate with your spouse. Many couples choose to attend divorce mediation alone, which can be extremely detrimental. If you choose to sit with your spouse in the divorce mediation room, you will inevitably be feeling tense and anxious about the outcome of the meeting. You will likely feel defensive of your spouse, because you will believe that he or she is trying to manipulate you. This can lead to a fight that could result in you filing for divorce. By being engaged in a healthy dialogue with your spouse, you can learn that there may not actually be any problem and can avoid a costly battle in your court rooms.
Once you have attended divorce mediation with your spouse, if you are satisfied with the outcome, your court date will be set. If necessary, you can always go back to your neutral mediator and get an expedited decision. Most divorce mediation appointments last only about an hour, so you will not need to have much of a case to get to your desired agreement. Even if you do not agree on every single detail with your spouse during the divorce mediation, as long as you come to the meeting with an open mind and a willingness to cooperate with your spouse, you should be able to reach an agreement that satisfies you both.
It is important to bear in mind that even though both parties may come to divorce mediation with a settlement in their hand, this does not mean that they will come with exactly the same settlement. This is why it is important to hire a divorce mediator who has experience in these types of cases and who is unbiased. The last thing you want is for your divorce mediation session to turn into a “tortious” battle as one party makes many unreasonable demands of the other. There have been many reports of spouses who came to divorce mediation with unreasonable demands and the result was an extremely negative outcome. If you want a fair outcome, make sure your neutral mediator knows how to handle this type of situation.
As a final thought, it is generally preferable to hire a divorce attorney to represent you during the mediation rather than attempting to mediate by yourself. This is because an attorney knows how to better guide you through this difficult and emotional time. Your attorney will also be able to give you professional advice and be a source of support during this time. If you choose to represent yourself at the conclusion of the mediation session, remember to provide accurate and truthful information to your spouse so that they can evaluate the situation accordingly.