Spouses considering divorce have essentially two options: 1) They can each hire a divorce attorney and battle it out for a bigger piece of the pie, or 2) The couple can engage in mediation to discuss matters cooperatively.
While divorce can be time-consuming and costly, mediation tends to be ideal for couples who don’t want too much conflict as they separate.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is growing in popularity as an alternative option to divorce. Whereas divorce can involve fierce battles over money and children, mediation allows for more creative arguments. A mediator is a neutral party who helps the couple find an amicable solution. A mediator may or may not be a lawyer, but he or she will be well-versed in all matters of family law.
While it is always advisable for both you and your spouse to speak to a qualified attorney in order to get a fair shake as you separate from your spouse, mediation is a more collaborative affair than family court tends to be.
Here are the pros and cons of mediation so that you can decide if this method of dissolving your marriage is right for you.
Pros of Mediation
A More Flexible Process
The divorce court is incredibly formal. You are beholden to certain rules as you and your spouse are presided over by a family law Judge. With both parties hiring ambitious divorce lawyers, the divorce court can quickly devolve into an arguing match, where few truly win.
With mediation, you and your spouse have more freedom to dictate the terms you prefer in your divorce. The purpose is to allow each party to evaluate their many choices so a compromising settlement can be reached. Whether you and your spouse are discussing matters relating to assets, money, or children, you can creatively craft agreements that are in the best interests of all involved, including any children you two share.
Save Time & Money
Some divorce court battles last for years, contributing wildly to the couple’s expenses and emotional turmoil. Divorce lawyers can be expensive, not to mention all the court and associated fees you have to pay when opting for divorce court. The added time and investment often leaves couples emotionally and financially drained after the divorce decree has been signed.
Mediation is designed to be simpler, with some sessions lasting days instead of weeks or months. You will also save loads of money that would otherwise be spent on legal fees and expenses when selecting mediation over the divorce. With some divorces, the hiring of forensic psychologists and accountants, along with other special witnesses, can add even more financial strain to the divorce process. Mediation allows you and the other party to do away with all the litigation to get right down to the basics for an amicable resolution.
A mediator is trained to build up communication between you and your spouse. The goal is understanding and compromise. By the time mediation is complete, you and your spouse should have a clearer framework for how to move on with your lives, and hold up communication post-divorce, particularly if there are children involved.
Cooperation is what makes mediation so much different than divorce. Couples who choose this option tend to maintain more positive relationships after the marriage has been dissolved.
Cons of Mediation
Not Ideal if Complications Exist
Mediation is best for couples who want a fair, fast and compromising marriage dissolution. If you and your spouse can’t agree on a thing, mediation may not be for you. You may also find mediation troublesome if you and your spouse constantly argue or can’t come to a resolution on matters related to finances, assets, children, and taxes, among other considerations.
No Good for Couples Experiencing Violence
If domestic violence, spousal abuse or child abuse has ever plagued the relationship, mediation may not work for your situation. Mediation requires both couples to be fair and level-headed, which can’t be the case if fists have ever flown and one of you has ever been physically hurt by the other. When domestic violence has reared its ugly head, a divorce attorney may be needed to ensure safety and a fair outcome as the marriage is dissolved.
Couples Living with Deceit May Get an Unfair Shake
Jan is divorcing Steve and finds out what he was hiding assets during the marriage. Jan only discovered this because her divorce lawyer knew to do some digging. Unfortunately, hidden assets are a common occurrence for many divorce cases.
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, mediation may not be the proper method for separating from your spouse. Unless you are willing to navigate the complexities of digging into your spouse’s financial history, you would be better served by hiring a qualified mediation attorney.
Contact a Mediation Attorney for Rock Solid Advice
Mediation can offer a more peaceful and compassionate alternative to divorce litigation. To ensure you get the best outcome for your case, contact an experienced mediation attorney to discuss your case.
By working with a professional who is knowledgeable about the process, you can learn what to expect. You will also be better positioned to receive the best outcome when discussing matters with your spouse.
Call Fresh Start Mediation today and start working with a family lawyer in Carlsbad, Vista and San Marcos, CA if you wish to save time, money and frustration as you dissolve your marriage and prepare to move on with your life.