Divorce is a confusing and stressful time for most families. One of the first, and often most difficult, aspects of the divorce is deciding with your spouse how to carry out the divorce process. Some people will attempt to do it on their own; others will enlist help in the form of litigation, mediation, or collaborative law. Some people may start down the path of traditional litigation and then decide that mediation or collaborative law is a better option.

 

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Going the traditional, litigation route means that your divorce will be handled in court by either a judge or a jury. Once the court hands down its ruling, you and your spouse will be legally obligated to follow the provisions within the final decree of divorce. If one of you violates the final decree, it could mean serious legal consequences.

 

Mediation

 

Mediation offers divorcing couples a comfortable, relaxed environment where they are encouraged to work collaboratively and come up with a divorce plan that best suits the needs of their family. During the mediation, the couple will meet with a mediator, usually a lawyer or retired judge, who will act as a non-biased third-party during the proceeding. The mediator will help keep the conversation moving while making sure both parties are equally heard and each party has a chance to address their concerns. If a problem arises during the process, the mediator will encourage communication, help problem-solve, and keep both parties focused on their goals.

 

There are many other benefits to the mediation process and these benefits may help to encourage a reluctant spouse to abandon the traditional, litigation approach and consider a collaborative approach.

 

You keep the power: Mediation gives you control over the divorce process. There is no court to establish deadlines and work within the adversarial process of the traditional litigation system. You and your spouse get to decide what works for your family and what compromises might need to be made in order to make the divorce process as smooth as possible. A mediator will be there to facilitate and help you work through any issues that arise along the way.

 

It is much less costly: With mediation, you and your spouse generally only pay for one professional who will work with both of you to reach a resolution, as opposed to each of you paying for separate attorneys and all associated filing and court fees. However, most couples do still see the benefit of having an attorney present to serve as a source of support and knowledge. This is generally still less costly than hiring an attorney for traditional divorce litigation. Additionally, mediation appointments can be made to fit both spouse’s schedules, whereas the court sets hearing dates and deadlines.

 

Keep in mind, however, that during the mediation process, you and your spouse always have the right to seek additional professional opinions about your finances, the welfare of your children, and your legal rights.

 

There is greater confidentiality: Any information disclosed during mediation is privileged and will remain private throughout the process and beyond. By comparison, court filings are a matter of public record and can be accessed by anyone who does a simple Internet search.

 

It saves time: Generally, a mediation session lasts around 2-3 hours and, on average, couples will need anywhere from 3-12 mediation sessions to reach an agreement. This process could take only a few months instead of the litigation process, which could take well over a year.

 

It is much less stressful on children: Mediation is extremely beneficial for divorce cases involving children. Divorce can be difficult and even scary for children, as going through litigation means being interviewed by several professionals who will then evaluate them. The children may even need to appear in court, which can be a jarring experience and leave a lasting impression.

 

This is particularly important in terms of custody arrangements. During the mediation, you and your spouse can work together to create an effective custody plan that works for the long term.

 

There is a higher chance for post-divorce stability: Mediation gives you and your spouse the tools to communicate successfully throughout the divorce process. It is more likely this type of behavior will carry over once the divorce is complete, which allows for a stable relationship for the family moving forward, post-divorce.

 

Still have questions? Contact Laurence A. DePlaza today to find out how can help you today. 972-380-4222