What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process by which a mediator assists in communication and negotiation between the parties to help them reach an agreement regarding their divorce dispute. Individuals will often use mediation instead of litigation if they can come to a fair, equitable agreement.
Mediators are trained individuals. The mediator is an objective third party whose goal is to facilitate an agreement between the parties. The mediator will be there to assist the parties in discussing their dispute or issues that concern them or their case. This can be done while all parties are in the same room, or if needed, the parties can be in separate rooms and the mediator will go back and forth between them. Mediators do not act like a judge and will not make any decisions regarding your case. Mediators will not give the parties their opinions or advice regarding the case. They are simply there to help the parties come to an agreement and to ensure both parties are being heard. If you are in need of education or support, the mediator will guide you in the right direction to help you find other professionals that may assist you with that matter. Mediation is different from arbitration. In mediation, the parties are the ones agreeing on terms of their separation or divorce and the agreements tend to be broader. In arbitration, the arbitrator will make a decision based on the evidence that is presented by each party and the decision is limited to the facts of the case. Mediation typically lasts between one and two hours but may last longer If both parties are able to come to an agreement, there are many benefits of choosing mediation over litigation.
Mediation Gives You More Control
Mediation will give you a sense of control in your case. Through litigation, the decision ultimately comes down to what the judge believes is best for two parties. If you decide to go to trial, you have to accept the judge’s order unless you are advised to appeal it. Even if you do appeal, there is no guarantee you will win on appeal. By using mediation instead, the parties are able to sit down and come to a collective agreement about what is best for both parties in their own opinion. This will give the parties a sense of control over their own disputes and not leave the decision to another party. Each case is unique in their own way, therefore, universal laws regarding divorce disputes may not work for everyone. An agreement between the parties is more likely to meet individual needs. If both parties can communicate and cooperate with each other to come to an agreement, mediation might be best for you.
Mediation is also cost effective. Some courts offer mediation at no charge to the parties. If there is a charge, it is likely to be less than what you will spend on an average divorce proceeding. Furthermore, attorneys are usually not involved in mediation. In these cases, it will usually just be the divorcing parties and the mediator.
It is no secret that going through a divorce may be the most stressful period of your life. If you decide to proceed with mediation, the mediator will take some of the stress off of your shoulders. They will help you come to a mutual agreement by covering every aspect of your case without picking sides. The parties getting a divorce and the mediator will be able to work together to come to a peaceful solution that will fit the parties’ needs. There will still be some stressors along the way, but it will not be nearly as stressful as going to trial and having someone else decide your fate.
Resolving your divorce through mediation will also ensure additional security in the future. By participating in mediation, you will increase your communication skills to help future disagreements to a minimum. Your mediation agreement will be the document you look to, to help you resolve your differences. You will be able to make decisions as a couple without having the court intervene or approve every change. You will be more likely to use your mediator to settle your future disputes as well. They will already know your initial agreement, family life, and personality so it will be easier for them to help if needed. This will decrease your likelihood of going to court in the future.
Mediation is Less Formal
Being in court can be daunting and intimidating. Having to discuss your case in front of a judge can be stressful. When in court, you will worry about things like what to say, what to wear, what to bring, etc. Mediation can provide a more comfortable, less stressful environment to assist you in your already hectic situation. When you are more comfortable, that in turn will make the process and everyone involved more comfortable.
Whether mediation or litigation is a better option for you will depend on the specific facts and parties of your case. Every case is different and will provide different challenges and obstacles that will be specific to both spouses.
This article is based on general information and is not intended as legal advice. Each divorce proceeding is unique and any specific questions about your case should be directed to your attorney.