Divorce, while never easy, does not have to be an ordeal. For couples who wish to amicably end their marriages, there are a number of processes available that do not involve a combative mindset and are designed to minimize conflict in favor of compromise. One of the most common processes that aim for a more cooperative dissolution of a marriage is mediation.
Mediation is the non-adversarial divorce process most familiar to the general public. In mediation, a couple meets with a third party, who does not represent either of them and cannot render legal advice, to discuss the division of assets, custody issues, alimony, and any and all other issues that need to be settled in the course of a divorce. With an agreement in place, the couple files for divorce in the courts. They will then need to hire at least one additional attorney to process the divorce. The mediator cannot be that attorney.
How, then, does a couple choose the best course when seeking to end their marriage without going through a lengthy and costly bout of litigation? While every couple and family’s situation is unique, if your working relationship with your spouse is professional, and your separation truly is amicable, mediation may be the best option for you.
Mediation has many factors in its favor. With the couple using one mediator, together, it is possible for them to split the costs. Mediation offers couples more control over the scheduling of sessions and the total time frame of the process than litigation in the courts. Mediation is intended to reduce conflict by encouraging the calm and constructive expression of needs and wants. It is quite possible that a couple agrees to the terms of a divorce reached in mediation before filing for divorce in the courts.
Also, one needs to be realistic about the state of your working relationship with your spouse, and if it is likely you two will be able to work together. In cases of spousal abuse, or when mental illness and addiction are factors in the divorce, it may be best not to meet directly with your spouse, even with a mediator present. In difficult situations like these, it may be best to have lawyers and the courts as intermediaries, for your own peace of mind.
Call our office today to discuss if your family situation would best be served by mediation or another process.