The Pros of Divorce Mediation
The divorce mediator is an impartial third-party lawyer who keeps spouses focused on the goal of a fair outcome, and not past resentments. In divorce mediation, the couple addresses the issues associated with divorce, like asset division, co-parenting, custody, and calculating alimony and child support. Spouses work together with their divorce mediator to reach agreements that make the most sense for their family. As a divorce mediator, I help the couple focus on shared goals like the best interests of their children. With divorce mediation, couples often finalize their divorce without even having to make a court appearance. Reducing stress and trauma reduces conflict and eases co-parenting after divorce. The goal of divorce mediation is for each couple to reach a full and fair settlement that addresses all the issues important to them. Another pro of divorce mediation is that the timeline is ultimately controlled by the spouses themselves rather than lawyers or the court. The couple proceeds according to their own needs rather than busy court calendars or legal deadlines.This also allows the couple to take the time needed to discuss issues that are important or pressing for them. For example, some couples might need the initial sessions to help them physically separate and designate new living places. Others are ready to jump into dividing assets or discussing custody. Moving too quickly can add stress to the mediation process, while delaying too long can be detrimental as well. As the mediator, I help move the process forward balancing the needs of both spouses.
How is Divorce Mediation Different From Traditional Divorce?
Divorce mediation usually takes less time than a traditional divorce which can take a year or more. In mediation, spouses control their timeline and outcome unlike in a traditional divorce.Divorce mediation is for couples seeking an efficient divorce process. Couples choose divorce mediation because it is often faster, less expensive and less contentious than a traditional divorce. Also, in mediation spouses can be flexible and creative in their settlement. Some couples opt to continue to own property or a business together, or even cohabit for financial reasons. For example, a couple can agree to an arrangement that allows both spouses to stay in the marital home and co-parent their children, or remain involved in a business together. A traditional divorce process is usually designed to sever all connections and assets between the spouses. While this might be a desired outcome in most cases, your family might want or need more flexibility. Mediation also allows for more creative parenting agreements. Unlike a judge that tends to favor one parent over another or default to the old “every other weekend and one night per week” arrangement, parents have the freedom to design a parenting plan that works best for their family.
Will You Still Need a Lawyer?
As a Divorce Mediator, I always advise my clients to consult with an attorney called review counsel before signing the final agreement. It is important to the integrity of the mediation process that each spouse has been counseled on their individual rights and responsibilities before finalizing their divorce. Review counsel usually have minimal involvement in the mediation process or the negotiations saving couples thousands of dollars in legal fees. Even if a couple is not able to fully reach an agreement, and leave the mediation process and hire litigation attorneys, they are more prepared to assist their attorney and move the case forward quickly.
Other Benefits of Mediation
In addition to being more cost effective, faster and flexible than traditional divorce litigation, in divorce mediation the focus is on making decisions together, not on fighting against each other. Couples who mediate are able to reduce conflict and stress. Mediation makes it easier for parents to co-parent after divorce because they craft a parenting plan that is detailed to their own needs and schedules. Mediation also models cooperative behavior so children see their parents working together. Couples who mediate learn conflict-resolution skills so that if they have disagreements in the future over custody, money, or other matters, they already have the skills to work together. The couple can even return to their mediator to help them resolve issues that arise after the divorce and reach a mutually beneficial outcome without having to go back to court.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce attorney, divorce mediator, or one of our other skilled legal professionals about divorce mediation, please contact Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221 – 3100 or via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Our firm offers free consultations in person or video conference to discuss your divorce or other legal matters. Divorce is stressful and we are here to educate and empower you. Call our office today.
Written by: Attorney Mediator S. Wakefield