Your divorce doesn’t have to go to court anymore. Many couples are choosing mediation instead.
In traditional divorce proceedings, the court system can be painfully slow and expensive, and often seems better suited for enemies fighting until there’s a winner and a loser.
Sometimes neither side gets what it wants or even understands what it gets.
In contrast, you may find mediation faster, less expensive, less distressing to you and your children, and more private than the public court system.
Many couples also come away having learned valuable conflict-resolution skills, which may be helpful if joint custody of children is in your future.
The role of your mediator
Mediation involves an impartial third party who helps you and your spouse voluntarily settle each difference that arises in the divorce.
Unlike a judge, the mediator can’t force you to do anything. Instead, the mediator facilitates communication until each separation issue is resolved. The mediator may speak to you separately, together, or both as needed.
Mediators often need to gather relevant facts about debts and assets, family needs and priorities, and whatever other factors that come into play.
You could still hire an attorney to represent your side in the mediation process. But the main advantages of mediation include keeping costs down and finding consensus, so most couples simply agree to work directly with the mediator.
Mediation to find a legally binding agreement
Mediation doesn’t limit your options. In traditional divorces and court-ordered arbitration, both sides are forced to complete the process. In mediation, you can always walk away and opt for litigation after all.
Marriages are legal contracts, so your divorce settlement must be filed with a court. But if it was mutually and freely agreed to, and properly written, your mediated settlement is more likely to be rubber stamped by the court.