Recently, we heard someone say in an interview "I will like to divorce my wife for the last 10 years but now I cannot. It's too much to lose".
No wonder, when couples go through a divorce, they have to deal with tons of complications and disagreements as they are forced to make many decisions about child support, child custody, dividing assets, and more. For couples who don’t want to settle their disputes in court, divorce mediation can be a good option.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution; what that means is that you are resolving a dispute outside the official judicial process. In other words, mediation is a way for the parties in the dispute to agree, on their own terms, with the help of an impartial third party - a mediator.
A trained mediator can apply a range of techniques to open or improve the dialog while remaining impartial. The mediator is not a judge and does not make decisions for you. The two parties decide through informed, detailed discussion.
By definition, a mediator is impartial and doesn't represent the interests of either party. A mediator has no obligation to inform one party about a better possible option, because this may be considered unfair to the other party. It is also suggested to have a lawyer present in mediation during your divorce as your attorney has the experience to assess your best options and advocate for your values and goals.
How Mediation Works
During mediation, a neutral third party works with the couple to resolve issues and make important decisions about divorce-related topics. Mediation tends to clarify issues in a safe environment and provides a way to negotiate disagreements and discover a solution that works for both parties. The mediator does not make any specific decisions regarding the divorce and only serves as a facilitator to help the parties resolve their terms.
Three Major Steps Of The Divorce Mediation Process
Most of the people we spoke with knew the basics of divorce litigation – borrowed knowledge from movies and books containing divorce court drama. However, fewer people are familiar with the actual process of mediation – while some know that mediation is a way to talk through a divorce agreement with a neutral party, not many know the general steps of the process.
The First Meeting
During the initial consultation, the mediator will usually set the rules for future meetings and the couple will set general goals. Tasks will be assigned for future meetings and the couple will be asked to gather necessary financial information. In most cases, the mediator and the couple will sign a general agreement for moving forward with the mediation process.
Over the following weeks or months, couples attend appointments with the mediator to discuss the division of property, child custody, child visitation, and other aspects of the divorce agreement. The number and frequency of these meetings depend heavily on the two parties involved – how much time they need to gather information, how much time they need to consider options, and how easily they can reach amicable agreements. Some meetings may be scheduled between the mediator and an individual beforehand.
The Final Agreement
As the mediation sessions continue, the mediator notes down agreements and starts drafting a final document outlining the couple’s decisions. A draft of this agreement will be reviewed by both parties, their attorneys, and the mediator before a final signed copy is sent to a judge for official approval.
Benefits of Mediation
There are multiple benefits of mediation.
First and foremost, mediation is often much less costly than just going with a lawyer and normal judicial processes.
Another great benefit is that unlike a decision made by a judge, you’ll get a greater say in the decisions made during mediation.
Mediation often is more flexible and faster than going through court and can allow parents to avoid conflict that might arise in litigation, which can benefit children. For example, some couples use mediation to resolve disagreements over a parenting plan. The mediator will encourage the parents to focus on the needs of the child, rather than their own needs.
Is Mediation Right For Us?
If you and your spouse are filing for divorce but are not ready to deal with an expensive court battle, then mediation might be the right choice for you. Court battles have a way to get ugly – if you want to settle disputes while staying on positive terms with your spouse, then mediation might be right for you. The latter point can be important to parents who do not want to subject their children to a lengthy and contentious court battle, even if the child will never set foot in the courtroom.
Note: Kiido does not provide legal advice. For specific legal issues, always consult a legal professional.