Divorce mediation is a process of negotiations. Facilitated by a trained, neutral mediator, it can cut down on court costs by speeding up the divorce negotiations. It is not a form of marriage counseling. Unlike with marital counseling, the goal of divorce mediation is not to reconcile differences in the marriage, but instead, to find agreements on the best way to divorce.
Negotiations during the divorce process can be lengthy and complex, especially when a couple shares multiple assets together. Failing to come to an agreement on key points can require the couple to argue their case in front of a judge. This can be expensive and may not always lead to a fair agreement. When a couple agrees to divorce mediation, they have the opportunity to consider what is important to them.
Trained divorce mediators also often have creative solutions that can help you and your spouse come to an agreement on tougher-to-decide points.
What Issues are Discussed During Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediators can help with the negotiations of each aspect of your divorce, including:
- Child custody
- Separation of your assets, including houses and vehicles
- Child support
Divorce mediation can also be beneficial for unique concerns, including the separation of businesses or vacation properties. Mediation may also be used to discuss debt and how it should be divided.
Additionally, the groundwork of divorce mediation can help you and your spouse develop communication and conflict resolution skills that can help throughout the divorce process. For couples with children, negotiations and disagreements do not stop once the divorce is finalized.
In fact, the couple will continue to work together in raising their children. The techniques and communication methods used when negotiating the terms of the divorce can also transition to the process of co-parenting.
How Do I Know the Outcome of Mediation Will Be Fair?
A divorce mediator is not only trained in negotiation techniques that are meant to move the process along, but they are also neutral. They do not provide judgments or rulings. Instead, they try to point out what is important to each spouse and come to an agreement that is fair.
Some spouses may still worry that the outcome will not be fair. With divorce mediation, you can still hire your own divorce lawyer to represent you. This ensures that you understand each step of the process and your lawyer’s job is to specifically help you through the legalities of the divorce.
Your lawyer can also evaluate any contracts. In fact, it is often advisable that you hire your own attorney. Your divorce mediator will not offer any legal advice, ensuring that they are fair and neutral throughout the entire process.
It is also important to note that going to divorce mediation does not mean that you have to agree to the offer. You can continue to turn down any solutions that you are not comfortable with. While most couples are able to come to an agreement during the divorce mediation, it is not a requirement. You can still go to court if you decide that divorce mediation is not right for you.
Who Should Go Through Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a good option for couples of all types. Just a few examples include:
- Spouses who live in a different state
- Spouses who own multiple assets or businesses together
- Spouses who cannot agree on how to equally share assets
- Spouses who have unique assets, like rental properties or vacation homes
The great thing about divorce mediation is that it is done on the couple’s schedule and in most cases, the mediator is willing to work around any unique circumstances.
For example, some mediators will offer virtual meetings to accommodate spouses who may live in a different state or country. When you decide to take your divorce case to court, you are required to attend court dates as set by the court, regardless of your schedule.
What Happens During the Divorce Mediation?
The divorce mediation process is shaped around the couple and their individual needs. One thing to keep in mind is that the process is entirely confidential. The things that you share during mediation are not used in court. During mediation, you can expect to meet with the mediator individually at first. This gives them the opportunity to collect important information from each spouse, while also understanding what is, and is not, important to each spouse.
Then, the mediator will meet with both spouses on the date and time of their choosing. The spouse’s lawyers may decide to accompany them, but this is not a requirement. Each spouse will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and beliefs on each talking point. The mediator will use negotiation techniques to come to an agreement that works for both individuals.
How long the process takes will vary, depending on how many issues the couple has and how willing each person is to compromise. This process may also include time for brainstorming new ideas. Sometimes, the negotiator and the couple will need to get creative to come to an agreement that works for everyone involved.
Hire a Knowledgeable Divorce Mediator
Divorce doesn’t have to be stressful and overwhelming. With the mediation skills of a trained divorce mediator, you and your spouse can work through the process amicably. Even when it seems like you and your spouse are worlds apart when it comes to a potential agreement, a divorce mediator can move the process along in an efficient and timely manner.