If you are considering divorce, you should know that it isn’t always necessary to go to court. You have several other options, such as mediation. This is a process that can help couples work through their issues in an amicable, efficient manner.
Divorce mediation gives both parties a safe space to calmly negotiate. Not only does this separate you from the anxiety of the courtroom, but it also has many other benefits. For instance, mediation can save you time and money as well.
Here is a broad overview of mediation in a divorce, including its processes and advantages.
How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
In mediation, both spouses meet to discuss the details of their divorce. A mediator, usually an attorney, acts as a neutral third party. They facilitate useful communication and help establish agreements that meet everyone's needs.
During mediation sessions, both spouses discuss what they want from the divorce. This includes any important, necessary decisions such as child custody, parenting time, alimony, and property division.
The mediator’s goal is to help create an agreement that meets everyone's interests and can be legally enforced.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Controlling Your Destiny
When you take your divorce to court, you must rely on the judge’s discretion. No matter how fair or unfair the ruling is, you must follow it to the letter or potentially face a contempt of court charge.
In mediation, you agree to all decisions. You may not get everything you want, but you can at least have peace of mind knowing that no one forced you into anything.
In mediation, you pay for the mediator’s time. Many divorces can be resolved through only one mediation session, which generally lasts between three and four hours. After that, you submit your agreement to the court, pay a few court filing fees, and you’re done.
Rather than going in and out of court and having regular meetings with your attorney, you can simply attend your mediation and be done with it. In a more complicated divorce, you may need to attend multiple sessions, but doing so still takes far less time than in a courtroom divorce.
Courtroom divorces can be contentious, and they often bring out the worst in people. Mediation offers a collaborative approach. The spouses work together and seek common ground. This can leave the spouse on better terms after the divorce, which is especially beneficial when they share children.
Whatever you say in court becomes a part of the public record. Any sensitive details of your relationship could be accessed by anyone. Mediation is confidential. Whatever you say stays between you, your spouse, and your mediator. Only your final agreement goes to the courts.
Preparing for Your Divorce Mediation
To get the best outcome out of your appointment, gather all your necessary documents beforehand, and don’t leave them on the kitchen table!
These documents typically include:
- Financial disclosures:
- tax returns
- An inventory of your assets
- Detailed family information:
- Medical records
- Education records
- A list of questions, concerns, needs, etc.
Don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance from your mediator beforehand. Remember, one of your goals is to get through this process quickly, and preparation goes a long way.
Strategies for Successful Negotiations During Divorce Mediation
- Set ground rules.
- Set realistic expectations.
- Closely review all relevant documents.
- Focus on the issues at hand, and try to avoid getting emotional. (A good mediator can help with this.)
If you are ready to talk through your divorce and work together, Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress is here to help. For a free consultation, reach out to our office online or call us at (817) 497-8148.