How Divorce Mediation Works
Divorce Mediation is a process that fosters discussion between the divorcing couple with the help of a neutral third party, the mediator. A mediator acts as a facilitator, helping people in conflict explore options and find a settlement that works for everyone involved, but does not make decisions for you. In mediation, the emphasis is on maintaining communication between you and your spouse.
The goal is to develop a tailored divorce agreement that will be submitted to the family court at the end of the mediation process, but will keep contact with the court as brief as possible. Once you’ve reached agreement with your spouse, the legal part of the divorce is a simple process. Divorce mediators may be attorneys who have experience in divorce cases, or they may be professional mediators who are not attorneys, but who have training specifically in the area of family court matters.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
Mediation usually requires between two and ten meetings, depending on complications around child custody and separation of property. It is however, significantly less costly, both financially and emotionally, than litigation. Most couples meet over a period of days, weeks or months. The adherence rate to the agreement is much higher than that of contentious, litigated divorces.
The Mediator’s Role
A trained mediator creates a safe, positive environment for discussions between the couple to take place. He or she will provide specific direction to encourage the parties to identify their options, and discuss the pros and cons of various actions. By active listening to both parties, the mediator is able to guide the conversation to a mutually agreeable outcome. The result is a better end to the marriage, and a more positive beginning for a new life.
Why Choose Mediation?
- Mediation Saves Money: Creating two households from the same pool of funds that once supported one is an expensive proposition. Legal fees and lengthy procedural paperwork can add to the drain on a family’s financial cushion. On average, mediation is 90% less expensive than litigation.
- Mediation Saves Time: Litigation is often carried out with multiple petitions and appeals, as well as calling expensive witnesses such as psychologists and real estate experts. Because mediated decisions are reached together, disagreements in the future are much less likely, and adherence is higher than with litigated settlements.
- Mediation Leaves You in Control: Direct communication with your spouse is always preferable when you are guided in your discussions with a trained negotiator. The process of sitting down face-to-face and creating a settlement that takes both parties’ needs into account is always the best way to end a relationship. It doesn’t have to be a conflict-driven process.
- Mediation Preserves Mental Health: Divorcing couples are already subject to a great deal of stress as they face the break-up of their marriage. Counselors report a sharp increase in anxiety and depression when the process is complicated with drawn out court battles and an inability to communicate. Although some sadness may be inevitable as you end one part of your life and begin another, the process can be far less traumatic with a trained mediator at your side.
Divorce does not have to destroy families. Research has shown that it is not the divorce that results in the destruction of families, rather it is how a couple relates to each other during and after the separation and divorce that makes the biggest difference of all.