Many separating couples assume that they will be battling in court for the duration of their divorce. While many divorces involve litigation, this is not the only option. There are methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that allow couples to divorce outside of the courtroom. Mediation is a very common ADR method that might be right for you. Most family law experts agree that the court system does not generally meet the needs of a couple
What are the benefits of mediation?
If you are considering mediation, here are some of its advantages over litigation:
1. It is more efficient.
One of the biggest draws to mediation is that it is usually a faster and cheaper method than litigation. Since costs and fees add up over long periods of court proceedings, mediation may end up being a better alternative.
2. It is less emotionally-taxing.
The anxiety of preparing for court and the flurry of negative emotions in and outside of the courtroom can be overwhelming for families. Mediation aims to ease some of this by focusing on reaching a joint decision rather than fighting to keep everything. This can be more emotionally healthy for the couple and the children involved. Many ex-spouses leave with less resentment after mediation.
3. You have a mediator supporting you.
Rather than hiring individual attorneys who represent only your own interests, mediation involves a neutral third party called a mediator. This is good for a few reasons.
The role of the mediator is to act as a facilitator to help you reach mutual decisions that are fair to both parties. He or she can help you think through your discussions and effectively negotiate with each other.
4. You maintain control over the entire settlement process.
In courtroom proceedings, a judge makes the final decisions if you cannot reach an agreement. Mediation allows you to tailor your settlement to your personal situations and have control over the direction of the agreement throughout the divorce.
5. It is a private process.
Your situation and its sensitive issues remain private, avoiding the emotional distress and embarrassment of a public courtroom display. Remember: the court system is public and anyone may review or make copies of your court file.
Lastly, the mediator can also ease any tensions or issues that arise. He or she will keep you on track during your sessions to efficiently agree upon your divorce terms.