Few couples end their marriage easily. When a spouse seeks a divorce, strong emotions will likely emerge, leading to tension, arguments and bitter disagreement. This mindset can make negotiating child custody or property division a brutal affair.
Couples considering divorce may have another option. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution used in civil cases. Using mediation for divorce has become increasingly popular among courts and couples, likely due to its unique benefits.
Mediation can produce better resolutions
Couples may choose mediation for their divorce, or a judge may rule for it. Mediation will work best if both parties prioritize compromise, teamwork and fairness. Couples can enjoy the following benefits:
- Choice of mediator: Couples will choose a neutral third party to serve as a mediator. The mediator’s job is to guide the discussions toward mutual understanding and empathy, asking probing questions and prioritizing each party’s needs. A mediator will teach communication skills couples can take with them into their post-marriage relationship. Co-parents may find these skills particularly useful.
- Confidentiality: All mediated negotiations are confidential, as opposed to the public record of a courtroom. When discussing these sensitive matters, arguments can occur. Some people, parents particularly, may regret some things said. In a courtroom, these public items may return in future disputes. With mediation, the drafted agreement is the only record.
- More convenient: Mediation does not need to happen in a courtroom and is therefore not subject to a court’s calendar. Traditional litigation may take months to schedule out, delaying the divorce and increasing tension. A mediated divorce can occur at a couple’s leisure.
- More affordable: Without a court, a couple will not incur court costs. Some courts even provide funding for the mediator, and lawyers often charge reduced rates for mediation.
- Better results: Couples also find divorce agreements drafted through mediation more satisfactory. The process of mediation allows each party room to express themselves and ask for what they want. Since both parties must agree on every resolution, compromise is the priority. Many agreements will include instructions for future disputes, in case a spouse’s situation changes.
Legal representation can further one’s interests
Those considering a divorce have found success consulting with a local lawyer familiar with family law. An attorney will help draft comprehensive divorce agreements that protect the best interests of the family.