As many can attest, getting a divorce is fraught with difficult emotions for the spouses, as well as the entire family. At times, disputes may arise in resolving the key issues such as dividing the marital property or child custody and visitation, which only feeds the tension. For those who are capable of having an open and honest discussion about ending the marriage, however, there is another way — divorce mediation. If you believe this may be the right approach for you, having the guidance an experienced divorce mediation attorney is essential.
Divorce Mediation 101
In short, divorce mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral mediator is enlisted to work with the spouses. Instead of litigating the divorce through a bench trial, the spouses strive to reach a negotiated settlement with the mediator’s help. Ultimately, this approach is quicker and less expensive than litigating the divorce.
Did you know that divorce litigation involves a lengthy discovery period, during which both parties accumulate attorney fees and other costs?
A typical divorce mediation, however, usually requires 3 to 6 sessions for the spouses to reach an agreement. Moreover, mediation can mitigate the tension that often arises in a marital break up. Both spouses must be willing to participate the process and negotiate in good faith in order for mediation to be successful, however.
By creating an atmosphere of empathy and understanding, the spouses are able to have a mature discussion, rather than engage in a bitter dispute. More importantly, the spouses can get through the process while continuing to raise their children properly, working to limit the harm that children inevitably sustain during a divorce. Finally, when spouses cooperate on resolving their issues, they are more likely to “buy-in” to the process and resolve the matter.
How is mediation different from collaborative divorce?
Collaborative divorce is also structured to allow the spouses to engage in a good faith exchange of information while avoiding a lengthy discovery and trial process. This form of alternative dispute resolution does not involve a neutral third party acting as the mediator, however. Instead, the spouses and their attorneys work with a group of experts, including financial professionals and child psychologists, to resolve the key issues. They must agree in writing not to litigate the matter and work toward a negotiated settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached and court intervention becomes necessary, both parties must find new attorneys.
In light of the fact that taking a divorce to trial can be an emotional and financial burden, more and more couples on relying in divorce mediation and collaborative divorce to end their marriages amicably. At the same time, getting through a divorce successfully requires having proper legal representation. To determine which option is best for you, contact Blair H. Chan, III, PLLC today.