The traditional method of settling a divorce is by taking the case to court. While litigation before a judge is necessary in some divorce cases, it is not the only means of coming to an agreement. Couples are increasingly turning to alternative means of dispute resolution for their divorce proceedings. Mediation is one example.
Mediation is a tool used to resolve disputes in a number of different practice areas, not just family law. Even if a judge orders you to mediation, the only requirement is that you attend. The court does not compel you to reach a resolution through mediation. If the process fails, litigation is still an option.
How does mediation work in a divorce case?
A neutral third party called a mediator presides over the process. The mediator does not make decisions but facilitates the discussion, helping you and your spouse to reach a resolution that is mutually acceptable.
The mediator may conduct the process via separate sessions in which you and your spouse are in different rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between them, relaying information and presenting proposals. Another option is to conduct a joint session in which you and your spouse remain in the same room and discuss divorce matters face to face.
Even if it goes into separate sessions later, most mediations start off with a joint session in which the mediator goes over the rules and the process, then both parties have the opportunity to make opening statements.
What are the benefits of divorce mediation?
The mediation procedure is much simpler than that which takes place in court. The entire process of mediation usually takes less time to reach a conclusion. This means that you gain closure more quickly and potentially save money by not drawing out the process. Many couples appreciate the ability to make their own decisions regarding divorce provisions and report more satisfaction with the outcome as a result.