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What is divorce mediation and is it the best option for you?

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When spouses have decided to end their marriage, they may want to explore divorce options other than litigation.

Mediation is a process that has gained in popularity because of the many benefits it offers over a traditional divorce in court.

Mediation versus litigation

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. As opposed to litigation, divorce mediation is a confidential process that takes place outside of court. It usually takes less time and is less expensive than a traditional court proceeding that can take months if not years. Divorcing parents often find that it is less stressful than litigation and therefore an option that is easier for their children to handle.

Couples from all economic backgrounds choose mediation. In cases of high-asset divorce, outside professionals such as business appraisers, accountants and financial planners offer their expertise in helping couples work toward their settlement agreement.

The role of the mediator

The trained mediator is a neutral third party who meets with the divorcing couple and facilitates discussion. The mediator does not take sides but offers alternatives for resolving issues that arise. Open communication is important in mediation; the mediator keeps the negotiations on track and sees that the parties avoid allowing their emotions to take over.

Mediation is a more respectful alternative to litigation, which can become contentious and leave the parties feeling angry and dissatisfied. With mediation, couples appreciate having control over the outcome of their divorce.

A satisfactory agreement

Once a pair of spouses have developed a settlement agreement, their attorneys review the agreement and submit it to the court. The judge issues a divorce decree and the two people will be free to begin the next chapter of their lives.

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