Resolving your divorce outside of a courtroom is definitely an avenue worth exploring. If you have to go through a long court battle, it’s draining financially and emotionally, and your divorce could drag out for months or even years. In addition to that, the judge will end up making important life decisions for you, without regard for your personal feelings on the matter.
One common way to resolve a divorce outside of a trial is mediation. During this resolution method, a third party with no connection to you or your spouse will work with both of you to help you resolve the issues in your divorce and come to an agreement. Since a mediator must be impartial and cannot offer either of you legal advice, you can both still have your own family law attorneys for guidance and advice.
Although mediation can work for some couples, it is not the right choice for everyone. Before you decide to try mediation, keep your answers to the following questions in mind.
Are You and Your Spouse Willing to Try It?
Mediation in divorce is voluntary. Both you and your spouse have to be open to doing it and approach it in good faith. If one spouse feels as if they are being forced to go, they may not have an open mind or be very cooperative, and this seriously hurts the chances of having a successful outcome.
Do Both of You Know Your Divorce Options and Legal Rights?
As noted above, your mediator will never give anyone legal advice. Because of this, neither spouse should go into mediation without consulting a family law attorney first.
Is There a Power Imbalance or History of Domestic Violence Involved?
When there is a power imbalance or domestic violence between spouses, mediation should be approached with caution. These two factors can influence the safety and fairness of the sessions. In this scenario, each spouse should speak to a family law attorney before starting the process.
Are There Any Immediate Concerns?
Mediation takes some time, so if you have an immediate concern, you should talk to your family law attorney about it before deciding to use mediation. Your attorney may advise you that mediation is not the best option in your case. On the other hand, they might tell you that you could try mediation once your immediate concern has been resolved, or they could offer you advice on how to handle this concern using the mediation process. It will really depend on what your immediate concern is and how it needs to be addressed.
Are You and Your Spouse Able to Communicate?
In mediation, you and your spouse have the chance to decide how to resolve your issues together, outside of the courtroom. Naturally, this process requires you to engage in discussions and considerations, with your mediator playing the role of the facilitator. It also requires you to share some information with each other, such as bank statements and paystubs. If one spouse will not work or communicate with the other spouse during mediation, it will make it very tough for any progress to be made. It may also make the entire process drag on longer.
Mediation can be a great and cost-effective option for some couples, giving them control over important life decisions and avoiding the time and financial cost of a court battle. If you are interested in using mediation for your divorce, speak to a family law attorney about your case today. Your attorney will review your situation and offer you realistic advice regarding whether mediation is a good option for you.