Getting divorced typically brings to mind thoughts of spousal discord and massive bills for everyone involved. It's true that divorces can become expensive quickly, between dividing all of the assets you've built over the course of the marriage and paying for all of the time in court. Thankfully, for some couples, there is a faster and often far more affordable option available.
Mediation for the critical issues of your divorce can help you and your spouse harmonize the terms for your divorce. Instead of battling one another in court, you can work together to find mutually agreeable solutions to all the major issues in your divorce, from asset division to child custody.
What is mediation and how does it work?
Mediation is basically the process of sitting down and talking through the biggest decisions related to your divorce. That doesn't mean rehashing the reasons why you are divorcing, but rather how you will disentangle your lives. Generally, each of you will have your own attorney to protect your interests, and there will also be a third party to facilitate and guide the negotiation process.
Mediation allows you and your spouse to each set specific terms in your divorce, whether they deal with a particular asset you wish to retain or how to divide holiday custody of your children. Mediation can even help you determine which person gets to keep your family pet or make arrangements for shared custody. Judges tend to view pets as possessions, meaning they will likely assign the pet to one spouse and not provide for a sharing agreement.
What benefits does divorce mediation offer?
The first and most obvious benefit of divorce mediation instead of going through the courts is that it is much faster and costs less than a protracted battle. Less of your accumulated assets will go to attorney fees and court costs.
Mediation also empowers you and your spouse. In a court-based divorce, the judge has all the power. Many times, both spouses end up feeling upset and disappointed with the outcome. Neither party may feel satisfied with the child custody or asset division outcome, in no small part because they didn't have much say in what happened. In mediation, both spouses must agree on terms, meaning that while no one is completely happy, the terms of your divorce are, at least, something you can both live with.
Finally, divorce mediation can shield your children from the emotional damage associated with a bitter and protracted court battle. Your children won't have to testify or make a decision about which parent they want to live with after the divorce. Instead, they can see their parents working together, which sets a great example for future problem solving during tough times.