How does divorce mediation work? What should you expect during the mediation process? We explain it all so you can be prepared.
Going through a divorce is never easy, and there are a lot of different things you need to know as you navigate the process.
Divorce mediation offers a way to make the entire procedure more streamlined, but you should still be aware of the mediation process and how it works.
Read on to learn more about this important step so you can be prepared for whatever comes next.
What is Divorce Mediation and How Can it Help?
In some cases, a divorce can be handled outside of the courtroom. The mediation process involves both parties, their respective lawyers, and a professional third-party mediator.
This option is usually much faster than a traditional divorce, and it’s also a lot less expensive than the usual court trial or dealing with several hearings. In fact, mediation works for many couples who are separating and don’t have a lot of assets or issues with custody to contend with.
One great benefit to divorce mediation is that it can usually settle all of your issues in one session. This eliminates the need for several court dates and tons of arguing back and forth. Another perk is that mediation is completely confidential and there is no public record kept of what goes on during the private sessions.
When you participate in mediation, you have more opportunity to express what you expect from the divorce and what you consider to be fair. In a courtroom, you won’t have much choice since the process is much more rigid and impersonal for your unique situation.
Choosing to use mediation doesn’t mean that you cannot use a lawyer. In fact, many people still enlist the help of an attorney as they go through the mediation process. For many, mediation allows for better communication and less stress which can help to reduce or even eliminate any conflict in the future.
When to Skip the Mediation Process
Opting to use mediation is certainly something that is worth trying for many couples, however it’s not for everyone. There are some cases where you will need the help of the court system to complete your divorce.
Spouses who are victims of domestic violence should consider going to court instead of mediation. This will ensure that the law is enforced and that the victim’s rights are protected as per a judge’s ruling. There could also be potential for violence if you choose to participate in a mediation setting rather than a courtroom.
Another example where mediation may not be best is if you’re in the middle of a serious custody battle. A mediator may not have the ability or the authority to determine a final ruling on custody situations.
If you’re ever in doubt about the terms of your divorce, talk to a professional divorce attorney. They can help you decide whether or not the mediation process will work or if you should take your case directly to court instead. You can still use mediation later if there are still any unresolved issues in the divorce.
For those couples who don’t predict many issues throughout the divorce proceedings, mediation has many benefits. However, if you’re concerned about your safety, the custody of your children, or the splitting of assets, consider a court trial instead.
How Mediation Works
If both sides agree to mediation, you should receive a phone call from a professional mediator. This is the first step in the process. The mediator will ask you for more details and background information regarding your marriage, your family, and any issues you are having.
Most mediators will start by asking for basic information, while other mediators could decide to gather as much detailed information as possible before the mediation date. Don’t hold anything back and always give them your honest, detailed answers whenever possible.
After the phone call, the first meeting will be scheduled. These meetings are usually held in an office or conference room setting at the mediator’s place of business.
The mediator will go over the entire process with you and what you can expect. Sometimes everyone will be in the same room the whole time, while at other times you could be separated at different points so you can speak in private.
You will probably be asked to sign an agreement that states you will keep everything confidential. The mediator cannot disclose what happens during mediation if you decide to take your divorce to court at a later date. A good mediator will do his or her best to ensure that both parties are calm and comfortable throughout the process.
A lawyer is not required to participate in mediation. However, if you are concerned that you will have difficulty speaking or making your point clearly, they can be an excellent asset who can speak on your behalf.
Navigating the Agreement
Once the mediator has gone over everything with you, you’ll be able to make a statement about your situation. Your spouse will also do the same thing. Remember to try and keep your statement short and to the point.
Next, the mediator will ask some questions if they need clarification or some more information. They may also read the statements back to you just to ensure that you’ve both said what you wanted to and that you understand the talking points.
After the statements, the mediator will determine which points you both agree on, and which are areas of contention. Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, you will all work toward a path that determines how to accomplish your goals.
If there are custody or property issues, the mediator will probably need more information from both of you. You may need to state the current value of your home or talk about any pending issues with your children that could come up in the mediation later.
Remember to be clear and concise and state what your ultimate goals are for the divorce negotiations. If important information cannot be provided at the first session, you might need to return for another one. Try to have everything you need with you the first time to avoid a second or third mediation.
The Negotiation Process
After statements have been made and all information has been gathered, the mediator will likely start with the simplest issues first. These easy questions and problems will help to build trust and make everyone feel more comfortable when difficult conversations begin.
When you start the negotiations, remember that this is a process and that nothing is final just yet. Stay on top of the facts and don’t get discouraged until the entire process is over and a verdict has been decided.
Negotiation can be a tricky skill to master, so don’t worry if you feel like you are not getting the results you want right away. It’s the mediator’s job to find out exactly what both of you want and how you can agree on a path to getting it. They should help you both brainstorm a few options that you might not have thought of before.
Do your best to express your opinion without getting too personal or name-calling. Make your position clear and talk about why your position and your desired outcome is so important to you and your well-being.
Onew ay to assure success is to be open to compromise. It’s highly unlikely that both of you will get exactly what you want unless the other person completely concedes. Always listen and try your best to understand your spouse’s point of view without talking over them.
When you both enter the mediation process with a spirit of openness and understanding, the odds are that you’ll walk away with a satisfactory resolution. Compromising means that both of your best interests are being taken into account. Never argue during the mediation and simply express your concerns if you are unhappy with the proposed terms.
Taking the Pain Out of Divorce
While there is never a guarantee that this method will be completely successful, the mediation process can make divorce much easier for both of you. Consider mediation if you want a quicker divorce, less cost, and a peaceful method that doesn’t involve the court system.
If you need some help or you’re concerned about making your presentation, consider a divorce attorney who can attend the mediation with you and speak on your behalf. This process should give you the outcome you want with less stress.
For all your family’s legal needs, be sure to visit our website and contact us today for more information.