Filing for divorce is rarely easy. Some couples let problems stew for years, turning divorce into a bitter struggle for control of possessions or custody of children. Some spouses seek divorce to liberate themselves from a dangerous situation. A few couples even seek their divorce together, using communication and compromise to bring a gentler end to their marriage. In a growing trend, couples like this, and even those with disagreements, use mediation to draft divorce agreements.
The benefits of a mediated divorce
When a couple files for divorce, they may negotiate any or all parts of their divorce through mediation. Sometimes, a judge may even rule for mediation instead of standard courtroom litigation. Mediation is gaining popularity for its many benefits:
- Choice of mediator: In mediation, couples have their choice of a mediator. A mediator will guide the discussion toward a mutually beneficial resolution that satisfies both parties. Mediators use communication techniques to help spouses access empathy in understanding the needs of the other. Parents may find learning these skills particularly beneficial for maintaining a healthy co-parenting relationship after divorce.
- Confidentiality: Mediated negotiations are confidential, as opposed to courtroom litigation, which becomes a matter of public record. Another plus for parents, these confidential proceedings will remain sealed, so none of the potentially hurtful or harmful things either parent said during the negotiations will pop up in future disputes.
- More convenient: A courtroom divorce is subject to the court’s availability. Standard civil suits can take months, or sometimes years, to schedule, dictated by court schedules and case volume. With mediation, spouses can schedule negotiations whenever is convenient at any neutral location, making for faster divorces.
- More affordable: Without the need for a courtroom or its personnel, spouses do not have to pay the associated fees. Some courts may even cover the cost of a mediator and many lawyers charge reduced rates for mediation services.
- Greater success: Perhaps the most important part of mediated divorces is that each spouse is more likely to stick to the agreement. Mediation produces agreements that each party agrees to before singing. A judge will not hand down a ruling from on high that a spouse must contend with for years. Using empathy and listening, many spouses end up enthusiastic about following their agreed-upon guidelines.
Inquire with a lawyer
Spouses with questions about mediated divorce can find answers with a local attorney familiar with divorce law. A lawyer will help assemble the financial documents and draft comprehensive legal agreements to help each spouse move forward from the divorce.