The fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce is no longer a shocking statistic. Sadly, divorce is commonplace in today’s society.
But did you know that the average couple spends nearly 3 years contemplating divorce before taking the plunge? Not to mention that most divorces take upwards of 12 months to finalize.
That means the average couple spends four years dealing with the dirty ‘D’ word. What if there was a better way?
Mediation divorce can streamline this process and get your legal separation finalized before the ink dries on the divorce papers. Want to learn more? Read on!
What is Mediation Divorce?
Before we discuss the many reasons to consider mediation divorce, you need to understand exactly what it is. When separate lawyers get involved in the divorce proceedings, things can get ugly.
Tensions are high and both parties are making emotion-fueled decisions and judgments. Direct communication between the couple is limited. This can lead to miscommunication, unnecessary drama, and delays.
A mediator can help diffuse the situation and lead couples toward a more amicable agreement. Mediators act as impartial third parties with no vested interest in either client. They will evaluate the situation, assets, and all other variables before providing sound, unbiased advice.
Most divorce mediators are practising attorneys at a law firm who also offer mediation services. It’s suggested that couples use mediation divorce whenever possible.
And here’s why.
The Benefits of Mediation Divorce
While there’s no guarantee that mediation divorce will end in an agreement that pleases both parties, chances are high.
One of the primary assets that divorcing couples argue over is money. Whether it’s alimony, child support payments or dividing real estate and other property, money can turn sane people crazy. And that’s before calculating the actual cost of the divorce.
The average divorce costs between $15,000 and $30,000. Hiring a divorce mediator costs substantially less. Low-income families may even qualify for legal aid.
Settling outside of court also means meeting in an environment where both parties feel comfortable.
It Generally Ends on More Positive Terms
Countless divorces end in badly. One or both parties are bitter over the ruling, which can negatively impact the relationship moving forward. Parting on good terms is especially important when children are involved.
Mediation divorce helps preserve the relationship and usually ends with both parties in agreement. That’s because the entire mediation process is designed around listening, discussing, and explaining things calmly. The mediator facilitates this process.
During mediation, both parties receive equal opportunities to express their concerns. Legal separation usually goes much smoother and faster during the mediation process.
Key Elements of Mediation Divorce
There are several factors that must be in place for mediation divorce to work.
Both parties have to voluntarily come to the mediation table. Without cooperation and an open mind, the mediation process won’t work.
It’s important to note that choosing to enter mediation doesn’t have to be your final decision. Either party can choose to leave the process at any point and pursue traditional divorce proceedings.
Mediator is Impartial
Any good divorce mediator will act impartially during all proceedings. Their sole purpose is to offer third-party, unbiased guidance. Both parties should agree on the mediator.
If at any time during the mediation process you feel the negotiator is acting unfairly or breaking the code of ethics, you reserve the right to request new counsel.
All Proceedings are Confidential
What happens in mediation divorce, stays in mediation divorce. All information shared behind closed doors stays there.
If at any point you leave the mediation process, negotiations are not admissible as evidence in court unless both parties sign an agreement.
Divorce Mediation Isn’t for Everyone
Although divorce mediation works for most people, it’s not an option for everyone. Here are several scenarios where divorce mediation isn’t a viable choice.
Both Parties Are Already in Agreement
In rare cases, divorcing couples have nothing to argue about. If both parties already agree on the division of property, assets, and custody of the children, mediation is not necessary
Under these circumstances, some divorces are finalized as quickly as six weeks.
Law Enforcement is Involved
There are certain legal issues that can complicate the divorce process even further. A history of domestic violence or a custody dispute over children makes a couple ineligible for mediation.
Restraining orders or other imminent risks to either party also negate the mediation process.
Complicated Financial Situations
During mediation divorce, both parties must be forthcoming about their financial situation. Filing bankruptcy, hiding debt, or not disclosing all income can stop the mediation process in its tracks.
After all, divorce mediators have extensive education and training in the legal field, not finances.
A few other factors can affect mediation divorce as well. A neutral mediator and location must be available within 15 miles of both parties. If a couple can’t agree on a negotiator or location within 15 days, they can’t move forward.
Sometimes, one party simply doesn’t show up for mediation. One person may have a disability that prevents them from attending. Without both parties present, mediation won’t work.
Mediation can go on for as long as four months, but no longer. If an agreement isn’t reached in this window of time, its determined that mediation is not a practical avenue.
Tips for Choosing a Mediator
Once both parties agree to use a divorce mediator, they must find one that they agree on. In traditional divorce proceedings, each individual reserves the right to hire their own lawyer. In mediation, the couple must agree on one, third-party advisor.
Several characteristics make up a good divorce mediator:
- Experience being fair and impartial
- Ability to keep the situation calm
- Effective communicator
- Offers suggestions, not specific legal advice
- Doesn’t know either party personally
- Their main focus in sustaining a healthy relationship between both parties
Divorce Made Easy(er)
Divorce isn’t something most people plan for or want to think about. But if you are faced with a legal separation, ending things in a civil, quick, and inexpensive way probably top your list.
Mediation divorce can help make this happen. If both you and your partner are prepared to discuss things openly and fairly, consider mediation before hiring lawyers and heading to court.
Following divorce mediation, both parties can focus on building a new, happy life. Need tips on finding happiness? Click here!