Mediation in divorce is a tool that you and your spouse have at your disposal to ease the burden of what can be a very difficult process. So difficult, in fact, that divorce rates are actually on the decline for the first time in decades, according to the US Census Bureau.
If you do find yourself heading for divorce, though, mediation carries a lot of benefits we’ll get into in a moment. First, however, there are two things you’ll need to get straight about using it to your advantage.
Define Your Key Differences
When considering mediation for your divorce, one of the first things you need to do is define what your key differences are. Some couples agree on a number of things but run into roadblocks on one or two matters.
Other couples have several smaller disagreements that can be worked out but agree on the big things. It’s important to know where things stand between you so you can know whether mediation is possible.
Work Through Your Attorneys
Hiring your own attorney is always a good idea in a divorce proceeding, no matter how amicable things are. That’s because you want to get everything in writing and legalized in a way that protects you against future changes of heart or hostilities.
Many couples come to mediation after hiring their attorneys anyway. Even if you’re not one of them, consider looking for an attorney to take your case. Explain to them the issues your ex agrees and disagrees with you on.
From there, it’s possible to start building toward a compromise. Remember that in most divorces, both of you will be a little disappointed. Therefore, it helps to come to each matter with an open mind.
1. You Maintain Control
In divorce mediation, couples are able to work with a neutral third party to communicate effectively and come to a mutually agreed-upon divorce settlement. Since both parties are present during the mediation process, they are able to communicate directly with one another and maintain control of the process.
Once the battle lines are drawn in a divorce, it’s very difficult to communicate in a constructive way, and, more importantly, it’s difficult to see any benefit in doing so. If you’re going through a divorce, you’re going to get hurt, but it’s important to communicate with your ex in a constructive way.
You can still be friends with your ex and try to work out a situation where you can both get what you need. Mediation facilitates that.
2. Divorce Process Goes Faster
Mediation is a great way to resolve all the issues that you have in your divorce without having to go through the legal system. Entering divorce mediation is a great way to keep yourself from having to call witnesses.
If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on your own, then you can avoid the hassle and time that involves. Mediation requires both parties to listen to each other and to talk about the things that are important to them. Getting there together can literally shave months off the process.
3. Stays Private
When you go to trial, your divorce becomes very public. Because you’re going to trial, it means that you’re probably fighting over custody, which means custody evaluations and all of that stuff is now a matter of public record. Mediation can protect the privacy of your relationship and the privacy of your children in a way that trials place at-risk.
4. Is Easier For Children
One of the key benefits of mediation in divorce is that children do not have to go through a long, protracted, hostile battle between the two people they love the most. Your ability to speak to your ex to come to agreements on things like custody and custody exchanges means that your children won’t have to witness the internal tensions for themselves.
At least, you’ll be able to keep a good deal of it from boiling over. As a result, you can make your children feel stable through an admittedly destabilizing process. That alone makes mediation worth considering if you and your ex are capable of finding any common ground whatsoever.
Another major benefit you’ll discover asking questions like what is divorce mediation: being able to customize the experience. Letting the court decide your ultimate fate as a couple means boilerplate agreements that are often not deviated from, and those agreements might not fit in with either one of your lives as much as you would like.
Mediation gives you both the ability to come to the settlement from the intimate perspectives that you know are optimal for your situations. Don’t want to do the standard 80/20 custody split? Would 70/30 or 65/35 work better?
Divorce mediation gives you both an opportunity to sit down and look at your specific obligations to come to more specific agreements on matters like this. Otherwise, you’re entrusting the entire outcome to a person who has no idea what is best for the lives of you and your children.
6. And Can Cut Out Delays
The divorce mediation process is good for showing how willing your ex is to deal in good faith. One tactic that many spouses use to their advantage in the process is divorce delay. That is, they try out specific tactics to prolong the divorce, in hopes of winning a war of attrition.
Mediation can put a stop to such attempts right away. It does so because it’s one party saying, “Here I am, let’s get this solved together, I’m willing to listen.” If the other party isn’t willing to listen, then it calls into question any attempts at delaying the process that they might make along the way.
Let’s not fail to mention the biggest reason an ex will attempt delays: to drive up costs for the divorce in hopes of making life too financially hard for their adversary. Mediation nips that type of behavior in the bud.
Using Mediation in Divorce Is Best For Everyone
Incorporating mediation in divorce is a good idea if you have children or find common ground on most of the issues that cause conflict. You’ll be drawn to the speed of it, the cost savings, and the ability to forgo public scrutiny.
Your children will adjust better to life after the settlement as well, and it will allow you to customize the outcome to your lives. For more legal information concerning the divorce process, check out some of our additional posts!