Those seeking a divorce may attain it either through the courts or mediation, the latter of which is typically faster and more affordable. For spouses who can separate amicably, mediation is the ideal way to end a marriage. The process allows both people to express their opinions, and the mediator will keep challenging conversations on track. Many find the mediation process healing, and the agreements developed tend to be followed more often than those made in court.
Benefits of mediation
- Avoid public records – When working with a mediator, divorce matters will be confidential. Divorce court is public record, which means the transcript is available to friends, family, and coworkers. Knowing others can “eavesdrop” on this incredibly personal event is concerning to many. In mediation, couples can have difficult conversations without worrying others might be privy to the details.
- Make decisions without dictation from the court – Mediation allows for deciding together what seems fair, rather than being stuck with what the court has deemed fair. Individuals can talk through division of assets together and figure out what is best for both.
- Learn to Communicate – When children are involved, parents will need to be able to negotiate difficult conversations together for years. With the help of a professional, mediation is a great tool for learning how to hone communication skills.
Caveats to mediation
- Mediators cannot make legal orders, which means one spouse could find ways to delay the process.
- If a partner hopes the marriage can be saved, mediation can be ineffective.
- If the marriage incurred abuse, mediation is most often a bad fit.
The first step is calling the mediator to explain the relationship’s background. Then at the first appointment, the mediator will go over the process and review issues upon which both parties have agreed to be resolved. More information may need to be gathered before additional meetings.
Throughout the process, both parties will need to be willing to listen to each other and compromise. This can be difficult, especially if both have strong opinions, but it’s essential if mediation is to be successful.
Once an agreement regarding the division of assets and a parenting plan has been reached, the mediator will write it up and file it with the courts. At this point, the document becomes legally enforceable.
A lawyer can be present throughout the mediation process. We are happy to offer this service. Stallings Family Law can help find a mediator and begin the process so the marriage can be dissolved in the most peaceful way possible.