Divorce is difficult for all parties involved, including any children you and your partner may have. By using mediation, an alternative dispute resolution tactic, you may be able to come to an agreement on major and minor issues faster to reduce the emotional burden. Learn what to expect in mediation and why it’s beneficial for couples who are divorcing.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where both partners work with a trained mediator, who remains neutral during the mediation and assists the divorcing couple in coming to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. Both partners then consult with their attorneys before signing the final divorce settlement, which is legally binding.
Mediation works well when couples are interested in maintaining an amicable relationship with their former spouse, easing the financial strain of getting divorced, and protecting children.
Benefits of Mediation
Successful mediation has many benefits to offer couples. Mediation often:
- Creates a better long-term relationship with your ex – Because the two of you are coming to an agreement, not “fighting it out” in court, you can preserve a harmonious relationship. A better long-term relationship reduces fights about custody and stress at family events, such as graduations.
- Protects children from conflict – Children suffer during a divorce, especially when parents fight bitterly. Because the divorce process tends to be more peaceful when you’re meditating, children are protected from harmful side effects.
- Reduces emotional strain of a divorce – Even if you want the divorce, it often brings stress and affects relationships. For instance, friends and even family members may feel the need to choose sides. Mediation focuses on long-term solutions for the benefit of all sides, which reduces the strain of divorce.
- Keeps costs down – Courtroom costs can spiral out of control, all the more so if both sides disagree over major issues, such as custody or splitting assets. Mediation is often faster and less expensive than a trial with decisions made by a judge.
Mediation can be beneficial even if you only settle some of the issues and have to go to trial on the remaining issues. Each issue you settle means less work at trial for your attorney. A small issue settled can save an hour of your attorney’s trial time and 2 to 3 hours of preparation. Since attorneys commonly charge between $200 to $300 per hour, a settlement of a small issue can easily save you more than you spend in mediation.
If you are interested in mediation, seek a mediator as soon as you know you will divorce your partner. This way, you can approach the dissolution of marriage through mediation and avoid arguments that can increase hostility on both sides.