Not so long ago, the divorce process in the U.S. always involved both parties standing before a judge and that judge rendering a ruling in re: asset division and – if applicable – child custody and child support. Nowadays, the vast majority of divorces are resolved without judicial intervention.
Sometimes, spouses are able to draw up a draft of their divorce terms and work with attorneys to finalize and formalize their mutually-agreeable arrangement. Most of the time, spouses need a little help resolving their differences before final papers can be drawn up. This is where mediation comes in.
The potential benefits of mediation
Mediation involves sitting down with your spouse, each of your attorneys and a third-party neutral who helps to facilitate a calm, focused negotiation process. Mediation tends to be a very cost-effective way of resolving divorce disputes because it takes less time and is less contentious than a traditional courtroom process.
Additionally, mediation allows divorcing spouses to maintain control over the outcome of their case. When a judge is compelled to intervene, it is their values and perceptions that count. Arriving at mutually-agreeable solutions via mediation keeps each spouse’s future squarely in their own hands.
Weighing your options
Although mediation is a fantastic option for most married couples, there are a few circumstances in which you’ll want to seek legal guidance before committing to this opportunity. Namely, mediation isn’t generally advised when a couple has a history of domestic violence and/or one of the spouses involved is either narcissistic or has another personality disorder that makes reasonable negotiation with that individual close to impossible. Similarly, when couples have fundamental differences that cannot be bridged without judicial intervention, mediation may not be a wise investment of their time.
With that said, it bears repeating that the vast majority of divorcing couples are in a strong position to navigate their differences via mediation and/or attorney-led negotiations. As a result, if you’re interested in exploring mediation as an option, by all means, connect with a legal professional who can assist you in making informed decisions.