Divorce, while never easy, does not have to be a contentious ordeal. For couples who wish to amicably end their marriages, there are a number of processes available that do not involve a combative mindset and are designed to minimize conflict in favor of compromise. One of the most common processes that aim for a more cooperative dissolution of a marriage is mediation.
Mediation is the non-adversarial divorce process most familiar to the general public. In mediation, a couple meets with an experienced third party to discuss the division of assets, custody issues, child support and alimony, and any and all other issues that need to be settled in the course of a divorce. With an agreement in place, the couple may file for an uncontested divorce in the courts.
How, then, does a couple choose the best course when seeking to end their marriage without going through a lengthy and costly bout of litigation? While every couple and family’s situation is unique, if your parenting relationship with your spouse is cooperative and your separation truly is amicable, mediation may be the best option for you.
Mediation has many factors in its favor. With the couple using one mediator, together, it is possible for them to split the costs. Along with a much less expensive alternative to litigation, mediation offers couples more control over the outcome of their divorce and it is a much less time consuming process. Mediation is intended to reduce conflict by encouraging the calm and constructive expression of needs and wants.
However, one needs to be realistic about the state of your working relationship with your spouse, and if it is likely you two will be able to work together to come to a final agreement. If you and your spouse are unable to effectively communicate or you have vastly different expectations on how your custody arrangement or the division or your assets should be finalized then mediation may not work for you. In cases of spousal abuse, high conflict situations or when mental illness or addiction are factors in the divorce, it may be best not to meet directly with your spouse, even with a mediator present. In difficult situations like these, it may be best to have lawyers and the courts as intermediaries, for your own peace of mind and to take advantage of a process more suitable to your situation.
Call our office today to discuss if your family situation would best be served by mediation or another process.