If you and your spouse contemplate divorce, you may wish to consider mediation as an alternative to a litigated divorce. FindLaw explains that mediation not only allows the two of you to maintain control of your lives, but also usually costs far less and takes less time then a traditional divorce.
Perhaps one of mediation’s greatest benefits, however, is that it provides you and your spouse a more amicable way to end your marriage.
How mediation works
As your first mediation step, you and your spouse agree on a neutral third party to act as your mediator. You can choose a licensed attorney, a licensed mediation specialist or any other professional experienced in the mediation process. Whoever you choose cannot and will not offer either of you legal advice. Rather, your mediator’s function consists of the following:
- To provide you with a neutral, nonthreatening place in which to meet with him or her
- To help you identify your issues and then resolve them through negotiation
- To ensure that each of you has adequate time to talk
- To ensure that neither of you “steamrollers” or intimidates the other
Once you and your spouse agree on a mediator, the three of you then begin meeting together. Usually these meetings take one to two hours each. How many meetings you attend will depend on the complexity of your issues and your respective willingness to effectively negotiate and compromise on them.
The two of you likely will negotiate such issues as the following:
- Child custody, visitation and support
- Spousal support
- Division of your marital property
- Which, if either, of you will continue living in the marital home
Once you reach agreement, your mediator will put everything in writing for the two of you to sign before presenting it to the court for approval and the issuance of your divorce decree.