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The following is for informational purposes only

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a voluntary settlement process married couples use when they want to separate. It is a collaborative process and allows all people to control the outcome. These processes are guided by a third-party professional that keeps the spouses on the fair outcome goal rather than struggling over previous issues. The mediator guides the discussion so they address all of the issues linked with the divorce, like custody arrangements, child support, and the division of assets. Several couples may opt for divorce mediation as it tends to be less expensive in the long run compared to the typical divorce process. It also eases the trauma associated with divorce, which makes co-parenting much simpler.

Difference Between a Divorce Lawyer and a Mediator

A divorce lawyer is an individual that works for one of the parties as their specific advocate. Their work entails providing legal advice to parties, considering their entitlements and available legal outcomes. A divorce lawyer also puts their client's case forward when it comes to court or during mediation. Sometimes, a party during disputes will not be forthcoming with all financial information. In these cases, divorce mediation would not be the appropriate avenue to pursue.

Lawyers, though, may assist the parties in attaining all relevant data and make sure their clients can understand all circumstances. On the other hand, the parties can be abrasive, where lawyers would be needed to ensure the parties to a case are empowered with advocacy pertaining to their case. A divorce mediator's primary goal is common ground, allowing the parties to move forward.

Benefits of Divorce Mediation

When spouses have unresolved issues or need help navigating the paperwork in a split, a divorce mediator is one of the best ways to make the process more bearable. They help navigate issues that typical online services could not assist. At the same time, the more complex the situation, the higher potential that a spouse will require guidance in resolving the problems. For example, there may be a child with special needs or several assets from which to divide. An experienced mediator would alert on the required details and provide options that have previously worked for other couples.

To a large extent, mediation places the future in the hands of the couple as opposed to the courts, which decide what happens to the individual, their children, and assets. The mediator is the one that is most familiar with the situation. It can also assist in determining the result of the marital split on one's own terms. If a judge has a large caseload, there will be limited time and resources to determine the right result. Though when it comes to mediation, there is a chance to dive into issues and craft appropriate solutions. Via mediation, a couple may come created a scenario where both of them get to keep the house until the children have completed schooling. These may not be the arbitrations that a court of law rules because it does not largely consider all perspectives.

There is the cost-benefit as well. If an individual files for divorce before settling child support, alimony, or division of resources, they will need legal counsel to navigate to the desired outcome. That could be costly due to the attorney's fees, which one spouse mostly covers. In divorce mediation, the mediator's fee is split between the spouses. Regardless of whether the mediator is an attorney or a professional.

When Divorce Mediation is Not Recommended

Unfortunately, mediation does not have the specific advocacy guaranteed in a legal divorce. The mediator is looking to satisfy both spouses' interests, but this is not possible in some cases. In the event one or both spouses has no intention of negotiating, a divorce lawyer would be more appropriate.

A successful mediation is also dependent on a level playing field. It may not work if one or both spouses take advantage of the situation. A partner that bullies their way around the other might not be easy to placate. Similarly, individuals traumatized by abuse may not be willing to speak freely about their terms in a mediation session due to fear of reprisal. Likewise, cases of ongoing domestic abuse take mediation out of the equation. They also mean the victim needs assistance from a professional counselor.

Duration of Divorce Mediation

One of the advantages of divorce mediation is the timeline may be controlled according to what the spouses prefer. It is not controlled by court calendars. That way, both spouses can take the time to discuss the issues with the highest priority. Some couples may need assistance during the early stages of mediation to physically separate and find new residences. Others are ready to begin the division of assets or child custody. It is advisable not to move too quickly, and cooling-off periods still apply depending on the state. Delaying too long, though, may be detrimental to the process, especially if the intention was for both spouses to move on with their individual lives. If one of the spouses is not cooperative, the other may feel they have no choice but to litigate.

Look at the Benefits of Divorce Mediation So You Can Decide Which is Best for You

Divorce mediation is a favorable option for slitting couples as it allows the process to end amicably. Rather than litigation, it introduces a divorce mediator who negotiates on behalf of both spouses so they can reach a mutually satisfactory settlement. It is cost-effective in the sense that lawyer's fees for both individuals are not paid. The process is also convenient as the couple gets to decide the pace at which the mediation goes rather than court-ordered appointments.

However, mediation requires a fair amount of goodwill from both, considering they have the best intentions for each other. If one is not willing to negotiate, it will create a strain on the relationship and the mediation proceedings. That could prompt one or both to seek a legal avenue to solve the conflict. It may also lead to extra costs of legal fees and an estranged relationship.