Can Mediation Help A Divorce Settlement?
Divorce mediation is among the most commonly used method of negotiating a divorce resolution. In divorce mediation, you as a spouse or, in certain cases, both of you and your former spouse or your divorce lawyer to hire a neutral third person, known as a mediator, to sit down with you in order to discuss and possibly resolve the underlying issues in your divorce. You do not have to be present when the mediator meets with you. The mediator is supposed to provide objective, unbiased advice to help you sort through the many issues that are part of divorce proceedings. You should take comfort in the thought that even if you do not discuss your issues with the mediator face-to-face, the information that you gather will help in the future, should you decide to remarry or go on a marriage counseling course.
In divorce mediation, both parties are asked to remain calm and in control of the situation. If either party appears to be shouting or emotional, other party members will want to ask questions about why they are being yelled at. By remaining calm during a divorce mediation session, both parties can better concentrate on communicating their thoughts and feelings without becoming heated. Asking open-ended questions such as what led to a particular event or reaction will allow both parties a chance to share undiagnosed resentments or other information that may be helpful to resolving the problem. Once both parties have calmly shared their negative thoughts and feelings, the divorce mediation program will be concluded and both parties are free to go.
If you decide to hire a divorce mediator, it is important that he or she is experienced and understands how to deal with difficult divorcing parties. Some of the skills that the divorce mediation professional should possess include: effective communication skills, listening, empathy, and having a good sense of humor. It also helps if he or she is familiar with family law as well as divorce law in general. A good divorce mediation specialist knows how to help the parties communicate effectively, keep the discussions positive, avoid harmful stereotypes, and keep emotions from dominating the conversation.
If you decide to use divorce mediation in resolving your marital problems, there are many benefits to consider. When both you and your spouse are clear on what the problems are, and both parties are feeling good about the situation, divorce mediation offers an opportunity for both parties to communicate without fear of being yelled at or verbally attacked. You don’t need to get into a heated debate with your spouse before the mediation begins. You and your partner simply discuss the issues you both feel are important and agree on the way forward.
If you are still married after a divorce mediation and the problems between you aren’t resolved, then the process can drag on for a long time. When you are able to sit down with your spouse face to face, it can be easier to find an agreement than when you are separated and using lawyers to communicate. With less time to devote to the problem, less money to spend on attorneys, and less time to go to court, many more people find an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties. You also avoid a lengthy trial where the issue may be clouded by emotions.
Although it is generally recommended that you use divorce mediation as a means to a successful settlement of your divorce, family law attorneys often encourage their clients to try custody mediation first. This is because mediation is less costly than litigation, requires less preparation, and allows you to get answers to your questions faster. Mediation can resolve things like which parent the child will live with. Child support payment can be negotiated as well, so both parents’ needs are addressed in this process. Both parents will feel less stress after they have gone through the process with a trained professional.
Family law attorneys discourage their clients from using a court system to resolve their disputes because it can be less effective in certain situations. For example, litigation may not always be the best way to make certain that a spouse pays alimony. Litigation often requires the assistance of a lawyer because the spouse’s counsel must be able to present the case in court in order to have a chance at winning. Even if a spouse’s attorney is successful at court, he or she may not be successful if the judge does not believe the spouse has a sufficient case. With divorce mediation, both sides are satisfied with the outcome and both agree to abide by the terms of the agreement reached. No one goes into a courtroom without a strong case and the process can be less expensive if litigation is decided upon before going to mediation.
Many couples decide to try a divorce mediation first because it is less expensive. In most instances, divorce mediation can be completed without the assistance of a lawyer, although some require minimal fees. Most family law attorneys offer a free initial consultation and no legal fees unless court proceedings are involved. In addition, mediation generally concludes much quicker than litigation. There is also usually no need to have children attend divorce court, although it may be wise to have them there for moral support during the process.