What is divorce mediation?

The process of pursuing mediation during a divorce is an effort designed to help separating couples resolve their disputes amicably without the need for a prolonged court battle. This alternative dispute resolution method involves both parties working to reach agreements on various aspects of their divorce, including property division, child custody, spousal support and other vital issues.

Mediation hinges on communication between the parties, encouraging them to reach mutually acceptable agreements. This may make the divorce process more efficient, less adversarial and often less expensive than traditional litigation.

The mediation process

The mediation process typically begins with both parties agreeing to participate voluntarily. They select a neutral third-party mediator trained in mediation and family law. The mediator’s role isn’t to make decisions for the couple but to facilitate discussion, help clarify issues and guide the parties toward finding solutions.

During these sessions, each spouse can express their concerns, desires and priorities in a safe and controlled environment. The mediator listens to both sides and may meet with spouses together or individually to better understand their positions and to help identify common ground.

Benefits of mediation

One of the primary benefits of mediation is its focus on collaboration rather than confrontation. This approach can significantly reduce the emotional stress and conflict often associated with divorce, making it easier for couples to work together after the divorce, especially when children are involved. Mediation also offers more privacy than a court case because discussions and agreements made during the process are confidential and not part of the public record.

Additionally, mediation allows couples more control over the outcome of their divorce. Instead of having a judge make decisions, spouses can tailor agreements to suit their unique situation and needs better. This level of personalization can lead to more satisfactory and sustainable agreements.

Finalizing the agreement

Once an agreement is reached on all issues, the mediator will draft a document outlining the terms. Both parties must review this agreement with their legal representatives before signing. Afterward, the agreement is submitted to the court for approval. If the court finds the agreement fair and in accordance with state laws, it will be approved and become a part of the final divorce decree.

While mediation isn’t the best option for every divorcing couple, it is an increasingly popular approach to divorce for numerous good reasons.