A divorce can be mentally exhausting. It requires a lot of energy and focus and is often drawn out over a long period of time. And while each situation is unique, mediation may be a good option for you and your partner.
What is Mediation?
As we’ve explained before, “Mediation is often used as a dispute resolution method when negotiation has not yielded results. In the mediation process, a neutral mediating attorney guides a discussion with the aim of uncovering areas of agreement and disagreement in order to reach solutions to outstanding problems. Each party is represented by an attorney who can protect their client’s interests.”
Every mediation process is unique, but most follow a similar formula. Each party will start by providing the mediator with some background information that can be reviewed prior to the first meeting. In the first meeting – typically held in a neutral location – the mediator sets the expectations and explains what will happen. Both parties will then make statements and the mediator will note areas of agreement and disagreement.
The rest of the process – usually carried out over a series of meetings – will focus on reaching resolutions and negotiating an overall agreement.
Mediation is an optional strategy that isn’t mandated by law. Both parties can walk away at any time and there’s virtually no risk involved. It’s typically used when couples are cordial, willing to work together, and want to avoid a nasty divorce.
However, mediation isn’t for everyone. If there’s been a history of domestic violence in the relationship – or it’s difficult for the two individuals to be in the same room together without lashing out – mediation typically won’t work.
As Nolo points out, “All that’s required to make a divorce mediation successful is for both people to show up willing to negotiate and open to compromise.”
7 Reasons to Pursue Mediation
Why pursue mediation? That’s a question a lot of couples ask themselves. Thankfully, there are plenty of good reasons. Let’s check out a few of the top benefits:
Puts Children First
Divorce is arguably harder on children than anyone. You have the chance to move on and find a new spouse and create a new life. Your children don’t get another set of parents.
One of the biggest benefits of mediation is that it prioritizes the children and alleviates some of the stress that a nasty divorce puts on them. Kids don’t have to be put on a stand in family court and asked who they want to live with. They’re also saved from hearing nasty allegations and claims. All in all, mediation is a lot cleaner and less demoralizing for kids.
A divorce can be expensive under normal circumstances. If you aren’t careful, it can easily cost $10,000 to $20,000 when it’s all said and done. Divorce mediation typically costs just a fraction of this, which makes it the cost-effective solution for couples who don’t want to break the bank.
Less Stressful for the Couple
Not only is mediation less stressful for the kids – it’s also far less intimidating for you and your partner. It’s a friendlier process that’s more like a conversation than a complicated court battle.
Whereas litigation requires official statements, time on the stand being cross-examined, cranky judges, and lots of legal riffraff, mediation takes place around a table with only a few hand-picked people.
According to a Nolo survey of people who have recently been through a divorce, the average litigation process takes 17.6 months to finalize. For those who choose to go through mediation instead, the process lasts just 9 months, on average. In other words, it’s nearly twice as fast.
As someone who is trying to move on with your life and start a new future, the chance to finish a divorce in less than a year – as opposed to a year and a half – is highly attractive. It’s also much healthier.
Do you really want all of your marital problems and personal issues discussed in a courtroom for everyone to hear? Most couples have some embarrassing secrets that they’d prefer to keep quiet, but that’s exactly what happens when you pursue litigation.
One of the primary benefits of mediation is the confidentiality. The only people involved are your spouse, your attorneys, and the mediator. Outside of these people, nobody else has to know what’s involved in the divorce.
Focus is on Problem Solving
Mediation isn’t a perfect process. After all, there’s a reason you need someone to step in and settle disagreements. With that being said, it’s a lot smoother and more constructive than a court battle, where everyone is pointing fingers and making allegations. Mediation is focused on problem solving and most of your energy can be poured into finding mutually beneficial solutions.
On a very practical note, the flexible nature of mediation is a big benefit. When you pursue divorce litigation, you’re at the mercy of the court. Hearings are set and you have to be there if you want to be represented. If it conflicts with work or other appointments, you have to work this out.
With mediation, you, your partner, and the mediator determine a structure that satisfies everyone’s schedules. This may mean meeting on nights and weekends to ensure there are no conflicts.
Contact Rowdy G. Williams Today
There’s nothing easy about a divorce. Nobody understands that more than our experienced team at the Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm. If you’re going through a divorce and are looking for a way to make it as quick, painless, and inexpensive as possible, mediation could be a good option for your family.
If you’re interested in learning more about divorce mediation and the benefits of pursuing this process, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. It won’t cost you a dime and we’ll be happy to set up an appointment that fits your schedule – evening and weekend meetings are available upon request.