If you are considering divorce, you may be overwhelmed by all the decisions you have to make. The following information may help you decide if you should pursue divorce mediation rather than the traditional court-based route.
In mediation, instead of both sides making arguments before a judge, the couple meets with a mediator. In these meetings, they discuss an agreement that covers all aspects of divorce, including child custody and financial assets. Couples often find that mediation brings about more satisfying results because the final decision was theirs, rather than a court’s.
Mediation is not for everyone, but it may be the best option for:
- Couples who are willing to communicate and negotiate
- Deciding the best plan for child care
- Dividing assets that courts usually don’t address, such as family pets
There are some situations in which mediation is not recommended:
- If a spouse is hiding assets
- If the relationship has a history of abuse
- If there is impaired judgment due to substance addiction
The outcome is highly dependent on the mediator. Some state courts certify mediators, but many do not. This often means you will have to do thorough research before hiring a mediator. While mediators are not necessarily attorneys, they should have a strong knowledge of the state’s divorce laws. You should choose a person with a graduate degree in law or a mental health profession, and someone with at least 60 hours of mediation training.
Be aware that couples that pursue mediation still go to court. Once mediation concludes, the mediator will help draft the divorce agreement and other court forms. You must file these forms with the court, after which the court will send you a notice of when to appear for an uncontested divorce hearing. This is the general process, but your mediator will explain it in detail.
Despite its reputation as a lengthy, ugly process, divorce does not have to be uncivil or unsatisfying. Divorce mediation can help both parties come to a mutually beneficial agreement, and even part on friendly terms. Contact us for more information on mediation that can help you move forward.