You and your spouse may be close to agreeing on most divorce issues, but some remain unresolved. More and more couples are turning to divorce mediation to help them turn their disagreements into a divorce agreement. Read on to find out how divorce mediation works and why it's become so popular.
How Does Mediation Work?
Divorce mediation follows the same basic guidelines as all conflict resolution practices. One issue at a time is discussed with between the mediator and the two parties in the divorce.The mediator serves as a third-party facilitator to help keep discussions on-track and to intervene when things get too stressed. The parties are urged to prioritize their wants and needs in regards to various divorce issues, and compromises are considered whenever possible. Often, these face-to-face sessions are more fruitful than might be expected, particularly with couples who have a hard time communicating with each other.
When Should You Use Mediation?
Mediation can occur as soon as you and your spouse are unable to agree on a given issue. For example, if you both want to keep the family pet, mediation might help you resolve the issue without involving the family court judge. While you and your spouse are engaged in mediation, your divorce comes to a halt, at least temporarily. As long as you are in talks, all motions, hearings, and other actions are frozen in place.
Mediation takes as long as the couple needs, but couples that cannot resolve their differences after several weeks might want to take a break and rethink things. After all, mediation is not included in your legal fees, and the costs can add up if things go on and on indefinitely. On the other hand, mediation costs are probably less than court costs and legal fees if you have to take it to court.
What Can a Mediator Do?
Your mediator may have legal knowledge, but they are not always trained in divorce law. Mediators will never offer divorce legal advice, and you should not expect them to. That means you must work closely with your divorce lawyer during mediation to ensure that what you are doing is legal and fair. Once you and your spouse agree on all contested issues, have your attorney review the agreement you have forged with the mediator before you sign it.
Mediation can help warring couples resolve issues and save them time, money, and the stress of hashing things out in open court. Ask your divorce lawyer for recommendations and about mediation.