Divorce mediation is a process that provides divorcing couples the opportunity to work through their divorce-related issues to reach an amicable solution that fits their specific needs. Mediation is typically a less stressful and less expensive alternative to a divorce trial. In this article we will go over what no one tells you about divorce mediation so you can determine if it is a good fit for you.
Divorce Mediation is Faster: One of the most alluring qualities of divorce mediation is the fact that the process typically is much faster than a courtroom divorce. This is because both parties are able to directly communicate, in the presence of a mediator, to work out their conflicts. In traditional divorce cases, the parties will communicate through their attorneys. This leads to slow and drawn out negotiations. If you are looking for a faster way to divorce, mediation may be your best option.
Divorce Mediation is Private: Anything that is said or submitted as evidence in a courtroom divorce, including financial documents, becomes public record. This can be detrimental to individuals who wish to remain private in their matters. When you work with a divorce mediator everything you discuss in your mediation sessions is completely private. The only people who need to know the specifics of what goes on between the divorcing spouses is the mediator they have both selected. If privacy is a top priority for you, consider divorce mediation.
Divorce Mediation is Affordable: Divorce mediation allows couples to cut out a lot of additional costs that can quickly make a divorce very expensive. You will be able to share the mediator instead of both paying for an attorney, you will be able to reduce the time you spend in negotiations, and in many cases there is no need for more than a couple of sessions to hammer out all of the details of your divorce agreement.
Mediation Can Work If You Have Kids: Even if you are working through serious divorce issues such as custody and child support agreements, mediation can work for you. Mediators are trained to help you consider all potential possibilities and scenarios you will want to plan for in the future.
The mediation process starts once you and your spouse agree to use this method of alternative dispute resolution and choose your mediator. In most states, mediation is voluntary, so if either spouse disagrees and wants to follow the traditional divorce route, a court won’t force your spouse to engage in mediation. That said, there are some states where the court requires couples to demonstrate a good faith effort in mediation before scheduling additional court hearings.
Mediation will only work if both spouses are open to negotiating the terms of the divorce. Typically, you’ll set up an initial meeting between the spouses and the mediator. During the first meeting, each spouse will have the opportunity to explain expectations for the most common divorce-related issues, including:
- property division
- child custody and visitation
- child support, and
- alimony or spousal support.
This initial discussion will help the mediator gain an idea of how far apart you are and what areas need the most work.
Aside from statutory limitations of divorce, mediation doesn’t have a time limit. You can continue to mediate and work on your divorce judgment for as long as you, your spouse, and the mediator would like. Naturally, the longer it takes and the more meetings you have, the more expensive it becomes. You can decide to meet once per week, monthly, or at any other time. Most couples can resolve mediation with a few sessions, which typically costs thousands of dollars less than litigating your case in court.
Once you agree on all the outstanding issues, the mediator will draft a divorce settlement agreement for both spouses (and their attorneys) to review, sign, and present to the judge.
If you are interested in hiring a mediator after reading what no one tells you about divorce mediation, reach out to Renken Law Firm today. Attorney Dawn Renken is a practicing family law attorney in Texas, that specializes in divorce cases in Houston, TX. Attorney Renken received her mediation license through ADR Services International Inc. in 2014. Since this time, she has worked with a wide range of divorcing couples looking for alternatives to traditional courtroom divorces.
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