You’ve decided to end your marriage, but there are many other
decisions to be made – the first and most important being how to do it.
A dissolution or divorce? Litigate or mediate?
The Method of Choice
Divorce mediation is rapidly becoming the divorce method of choice for couples across the nation.
Divorce mediation prevents the conflict and emotional fallout of a long court battle, as well as the tremendous expense for both parties involved. In a litigated divorce, you can expect to spend thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees and, at best, have limited control over the outcome. A judge will ultimately be the one who decides what to do with your house, your bank account, your pension and your children.
In contrast, divorce mediation offers all the same protections that attorney-assisted divorces offer, but with the added benefit of a non-adversarial process that puts you in control of what happens.
Studies show that mediated agreements are more likely to be honored than litigated settlements. Mediation is a time-tested approach to the resolution of separation, divorce and custody disputes, offering couples a more effective and equitable choice compared to litigated divorces.
How It Works
Couples choosing to mediate select a neutral third party – a mediator – who helps them negotiate and decide how to divide their financial assets and debts, as well as make critical decisions regarding their children.
The mediator helps the couple come to agreement on all issues, assisting them in making fair and informed decisions. All discussions are private, the schedule is up to the couple, and they still have the option of court if any particular point of contention is not resolved in mediation.
Trained for Fairness
Mediators are trained to ensure that each spouse is heard throughout the process, and that the interests of both are being fairly addressed.
With the help of a professional mediator, couples work out their settlement based solely on their needs and their children’s needs, not on blame or fault. The mediator helps the couple communicate effectively, express their concerns and get their needs met in an equitable manner.
What Mediation Is Not
Mediation is not counseling. It is not intended to resolve the past conflicts that may have led to the decision to separate or divorce.
Mediation does, however, shift the focus toward figuring out what each person wants his or her future life to be. While litigated divorce tends to fuel the hurt and anger, mediation enables the couple to respect, accept, understand, and move on.
The result is that neither spouse ends up feeling like “the victim.” Both emerge from the process better equipped to begin their new lives. They know that they have reached the best possible arrangement for themselves and their children, and that their financial assets have been divided equitably.