If you’re thinking about parting ways with your spouse, you might be wondering whether divorce mediation is right for your case. Mediation can be an effective, low-conflict, non-adversarial solution that can enable you to remain on good terms with your spouse for the benefit of your children. Unlike the lengthy and costly litigation process, the benefits of divorce mediation can help ensure both parties are satisfied with the outcome. The mediation process involves working with a professional mediator (ideally a retired family law judge or experienced former family lawyer) who facilitates negotiation discussions.
Mediation can take place in two forms: Option 1) Each party retains an attorney to assist in negotiations live at the mediation table (or via Zoom), or Option 2) Neither party brings an attorney to the mediation table, but each party has their own independent consulting attorney review any proposed agreements before those agreements are signed. Which option is best for you depends on factors like your budget, the negotiation power dynamics, and sophistication in understanding the legal issues.
Here are a few of the many benefits of divorce mediation:
The uncertainty of divorce litigation can be overwhelming. One of the biggest benefits of divorce mediation is that it allows you and your spouse to remain in control of the outcome of your case by reaching mutual compromises. Rather than leaving the decision to a judge to decide things like child custody, child support, alimony, and property division, divorce mediation allows you and your spouse to reach decisions, often much more nuanced and tailored than the order you might otherwise receive from a judge. This is because you and your spouse can spend much more time detailing-out the nuances of your agreement than a judge likely has time to spend on your case in a contested hearing.
While divorce is hard on the spouses, it can also be hard on your children. When you use divorce mediation, you can ensure the best interests of your kids come first. Not only can mediation help you and your spouse address matters that impact your children with less conflict, but you can work together to create a tailored parenting plan that will help meet their specific needs.
One of the many benefits of divorce mediation is that it encourages you and your spouse to reach a creative resolution. With the assistance of a trained, neutral party, called a “mediator,” you can brainstorm ideas that will work for your unique family structure.
When you use mediation to divorce, you are not bound to the court’s calendar or schedule. In fact, mediation can help ensure your case is resolved much more quickly — and cost-effectively. While you might have to return to court multiple times if you choose the litigation route, you may only need a few mediation sessions to resolve your case. These sessions can be arranged at the convenience of you and your spouse in accordance with your schedules, and you can go at your own pace.
Remaining amicable with your soon-to-be former spouse might be the last thing on your mind. But if you share children, being on civil terms is essential to having a healthy co-parenting relationship. Even if there is hostility between you and your spouse, a skillful mediator can facilitate effective communication, help you remain focused on your objectives, and keep conflict low to ensure the relationship doesn’t deteriorate any further.
We recommend reading the book Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After by Katherine Woodward Thomas. You can get the book on Amazon or other book retailers.
In contrast with litigation, which takes place in a public courtroom, mediation is a private and confidential process that takes place outside of court. This means you can keep the sensitive details of your divorce confidential, and exchange generous settlement proposals without worrying that your generosity will be used against you in court later in the event mediation fails. Once you and your spouse reach a resolution, your settlement agreement is the only document that gets filed with the court (and made into a court order after it is signed by a judge).
Emotions can run high during a divorce, and it can sometimes be challenging for couples to communicate calmly and civilly. Mediation emphasizes healthy and effective communication. During the process, you and your spouse are encouraged to listen to each other’s perspectives. Importantly, the skills you learn in mediation can be used as the framework for communication in your co-parenting relationship moving forward — and reduce the chances of future litigation.
It takes two to tango. Both parties must be committed to compromising for the sake of resolution. If you are interested only in getting what you believe you deserve under the law, then mediation may not be the right fit for you.
Ending a marriage is never easy. Among the many benefits of divorce mediation is that it allows you to divorce with less stress. Since the process keeps conflict to a minimum, much of the tension associated with divorce can be reduced. In addition, since you won’t incur the expenses that come with litigation, you won’t have to worry about the considerable financial strain divorce can place on you.
A major benefit of divorce mediation is that couples are often more pleased with the outcome that is achieved, than they would be if they let a judge decide. Spouses take a cooperative approach to problem-solving during mediation sessions and work to develop a detailed plan that suits their needs. When couples have more control and input over deciding the issues that must be determined in divorce, they are typically satisfied with the results.
If you’re parting ways with your spouse, it’s important to consider the many benefits of divorce mediation. At Bednarczyk & Valerio, LLP, we advocate for clients during the mediation process and are available to advise clients on a consulting basis before any settlement agreements are signed. We also offer mediation services to assist couples with reaching resolutions regarding disputed issues during divorce. To learn more about divorce mediation and whether it might be right for your situation, contact us online or call 925-464-2494.