Many have heard the term mediation used but do not know what it means. An alternate form of dispute resolution, mediation enables the couple to amicably avoid litigation in court by working together collaboratively to determine the terms of their divorce. There are several different formats of mediation, and sometimes it can even be ordered by a judge to address certain issues where the couple are closer to agreement, such as a parenting plan, thus leaving the court to decide more complicated issues such as support or maintenance.
The benefits of mediation
There are many benefits for couples to use mediation. These include:
- Less costly: Litigation can be expensive, which is not in the best interests of a couple about to support two separate homes.
- Less time: Courts schedules are crowded and trying a case properly can take time.
- No public record: When the divorce is tried in court, there is a public record. This means the details of the case are typically available to the public, including income, grounds for divorce and other sensitive matters.
- Control of the solution: Many like the collaborative approach because it enables them to determine their outcomes in regards to parenting plans and custody, support, dividing assets and other important details.
- Less acrimony: This collaborative approach enables spouses to avoid the heightened emotions of “battling it out” in court.
- Better for families: The collaborative approach can provide solutions for how the parents will continue to raise the family together, and provide a unified front to the children as they adjust to the idea of divorce.
Mediation is not for everyone
It is still important that parents protect their individual and parental rights. Sometimes, a parent is unwilling to agree to a fair and equitable solution on their own, so a judge intercedes to make decisions. Different attorneys have different approaches to mediation and litigation, so it is best to discuss these options before choosing legal representation.