How Mediation Can Make Your Divorce Easier
- What is mediation?
- Benefits of mediation for divorcing couples
- Types of mediation
- How to find a mediator
You don’t have to do this alone. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get help, either. In this blog, we lay out all the reasons the mediation process can make your divorce easier, quicker and less costly than if you hire divorce attorneys.
When a divorcing couple struggles to resolve asset or marital property disputes, mediation can help. Through this process, a neutral mediator who understands divorce law works with both parties to find solutions that are the fairest possible for everyone.
In some states, mediation is required before a judge will step in to assist couples who struggle with decision-making to determine asset and property division. This is done to expedite the court process and help both parties resolve their disputes as quickly and economically as possible.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process that allows you to sit down with your spouse and a mediator to resolve issues outside of the court system. The mediator strives to help each party see the other’s point of view, encourages low-conflict decision-making, and aims to reach equitable resolutions.
A mediator will charge a fee, but you can split the cost with your spouse. This fee will be much smaller than what you’d pay a divorce attorney to represent you in court.
If you hire a lawyer, the family law attorney is your legal advocate. A mediator is a neutral third party who will not give legal advice. They do not take sides, nor do they advocate for one issue over another. The goal of a mediator is to work toward a fair resolution and let you know all your options.
Benefits of mediation for divorcing couples
Mediation offers many benefits, the biggest of which is that you retain control over your divorce. You and your spouse will almost always be happier with the outcome if you decide the terms of things like child custody, spousal support (alimony), and property division outside of court.
Typically in divorce, a judge will step in and make important decisions for you and your spouse if you can’t make them on your own. That’s a total loss of control. But when you go to mediation instead of court, you maintain control over the negotiation process. Hence, you’re better able to achieve your divorce goals.
Mediation allows you to protect your privacy, as any mediated settlement agreement remains confidential. In contrast, when you go before a judge, much of what happens could eventually become public record.
Mediation definitely saves you money. How? If you and your spouse can resolve all of your issues before you go in front of a judge, you’re more likely to have a quick process in court, reducing your expenses. For things like child support, you and your spouse will likely come to a fairer, more reasonable agreement together. Mediation can also help you renegotiate financial matters later as situations change.
The cost of mediation is far less than any courtroom litigation, especially when you factor in a divorce lawyer’s high hourly rate. You may only need a mediator’s help once or can opt for multiple mediation sessions.
Going through mediation can be a more pleasant experience for you and your spouse than litigation. When you can effectively resolve your conflicts, you can overcome anything. Divorce is an emotionally charged process, but with a mediator guiding you, it’s often much easier to remain calm and reach suitable solutions together and often in a short amount of time.
Note: In cases of domestic violence or other safety concerns, a divorce mediator might not offer enough help. In that case, you may need to seek help from a family law attorney.
Watch: How Divorce Mediation Can Help, Even in High Conflict
Different types of mediation
Not all mediation is the same, just like not all mediators are the same. In fact, there are generally three types of mediation: facilitative, evaluative, and transformative. Let’s look at each type in more detail and how each type can help foster a collaborative divorce.
During facilitative mediation, spouses are often in the same room, working together on issues. In some ways, a facilitative mediator acts like a therapist. They help you see the other side and understand where your spouse is coming from. Using this approach, they can help diffuse tension and foster constructive discussion.
Regardless of where the conflict arose in your marriage and how long it’s been boiling, many divorcing couples face strife and disagreement during divorce. In some cases, the only thing they agree on is that they need to get divorced. A facilitative mediator helps you see the other side and, through that approach, helps you resolve your disputes.
In evaluative mediation, the mediator helps to clarify the situation. Often, divorcing couples face challenges in understanding the future. A mediator who takes an evaluative approach can help each of you see the value in the other person’s argument. The intent is not to get you to agree; it’s to help you realize that each of your wants and needs are valid – and what your options are.
This mediation approach is typically used in complex situations where spouses lack clarity about what they want, what their spouse wants, and what is best for the entire divorce process. A mediator can help you resolve your disputes by illuminating the bigger picture. Evaluative mediation is especially helpful in determining the right parenting plan for you and how to fairly divide assets and debts.
Transformative mediation revolves around dispute resolution and works to create a safe, comfortable environment for each spouse to discuss and explore their conflicts outside of family court. It allows spouses to seize the transformative potential inherent in the conflict they face.
By focusing on the conflict and working to resolve that while recognizing divorce is still the right next step, couples can address their bigger issues, making legal matters seem easier, almost trivial. If you want help from a neutral mediator to reach agreements with a high-conflict spouse, they can help with things like co-parenting plans.
How to find a mediator
One of the best ways to find a suitable divorce mediator is to use Hello Divorce’s mediation services. We can show you what a good mediator looks like and provide you with an economical and speedy way to resolve the divorce issues holding you back from getting your final divorce decree. While divorce mediation costs can vary widely, we offer affordable flat-rate fees per session. You can also schedule a call to find out how mediation works.
When seeking a mediator, don’t choose someone you know or your spouse knows personally. Further, don’t choose someone either of you have worked with before. You need someone entirely objective with no ties to either of you.