Couples who can use divorce mediation to work through divorce issues can save time, money, and create more satisfying agreements on the issues at hand.
For the right kind of couple, divorce mediation can become the high-road to a happy family and a bright future. Here are the basics of divorce mediation:
- A neutral mediator works with both parties in a confidential, informal setting to talk through issues that must be settled before a divorce can be granted. Those issues revolve around how to split the marital estate, payment of spousal support, and the physical and financial care and support of children.
- During divorce mediation, spouses have much more control of how and when they work through sometimes contentious issues. The process is faster than a traditionally litigated divorce proceeding.
- Because the process is driven by the divorcing couple, discussions and ideas can be creatively considered that would not arise in a litigated setting.
So why not sign up? Divorce mediation can be a low-conflict way to move through a high-conflict time of life. Yet there are finer points to consider, including:
- It is important that both parties agree on the choice of mediator. Your mediator has a big impact on whether your mediation is successful and you leave with acceptable agreements.
- Using an attorney who does mediation ensures that agreements you make align with current law. For couples who prefer more support, each spouse can retain an attorney who can provide as much or little guidance as needed during the mediation. While more structured and more costly, this form of mediation allows each spouse to receive counsel on their legal best interests. Even with the added cost of individual counsel, it is often worth it to work through a divorce with ease, rather than the months or years of tension, strife, and legal fees that accompany litigated divorce.
- Mediation has some standard ground rules plus rules you get to set. Effective mediation depends on civility and courtesy—even when you may be angry or disappointed with your impending ex-spouse. Set rules include allowing each party to speak without interruption, no bullying, inflammatory statements, or poor behavior. Rules you get to set include when and how to take breaks and 1:1 meetings with the mediator, confidentiality, and good faith agreement not to engage in legal action during the mediation process.
For many couples, divorce mediation is a great process to consider. Retaining individual counsel to attend the mediation is an individual choice. Regardless, you should always have your own attorney review the agreements you make during mediation before you sign and file them with the court.
Additionally, there are many couples who will not benefit from divorce mediation. Here are some reasons why:
- If one spouse is committed to high conflict, abuse, bullying or intimidation, divorce mediation is not your best choice. People who have suffered domestic abuse are not encouraged to use this technique as it can prolong abuse and lead to agreements that you would not otherwise choose.
- Sneaky, manipulative, or deceptive behavior simply will not work in mediation. The process depends on the presentation of accurate financial and asset information. For those invested in hiding wealth, mediation is not a good avenue to pursue.
- If a couple is simply unable to be civil long enough to work through legal issues, mediation is not likely to work. Instead, consider negotiating through your attorneys.
For a lot of couples, divorce mediation is a good process for moving through divorce as well as can be hoped, without spending more time and money than is needed.
Talk with a trusted divorce and child custody attorney in Baltimore
When you have questions about divorce mediation, divorce, child custody, or other family law issues, the Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC provides strong legal representation and straightforward, trusted legal counsel. Contact us or call 410-602-9522 today.