Over the past 20 years, the way people get divorced has changed. Couples rarely battle their differences out in a dramatic courtroom scene anymore. Many couples find their resolutions through communication, collaboration and compromise.
Though this method will not work for all couples, spouses who can work together may draft divorce resolutions using mediation. So, how does it work?
Ask a judge about mediation
To resolve a divorce using mediation, a judge must rule for it. Often, a couple’s inquiry about mediation is all a judge needs for approval. Some judges may have recommendations on the process or who will serve as mediator. Generally, couples who use mediation can enjoy the following benefits:
- Choice of mediator: Though a judge or lawyer may have suggestions for a professional mediator, the choice is up to the couple. Mediators use their collaboration and communication training to guide negotiations toward compromise and understanding. Mediators will not assign fault or issue rulings; they help the couple reach a compromise and draft their resolution together.
- Open scheduling: With traditional litigation, a court schedules a date that fits in the courtroom schedule. Some couples must wait for months to begin the divorce process. With mediation, negotiations can begin immediately and at any appropriate neutral location.
- Fewer fees: Without a courtroom, a couple will not have to pay the associated court fees. Additionally, lawyers often charge a reduced rate for mediation services. Some courts may even cover the cost of a mediator.
- Confidential negotiations: With traditional civil suits, a court stenographer records a transcript of the hearings to enter the public record. In potential future disputes, these transcripts may return years later, rehashing embarrassing things said in the heat of the moment. Mediation is entirely confidential, allowing the agreement itself to stand as the only record.
- Greater satisfaction with results: Couples who use mediation report greater satisfaction with their resolutions than those drafted through traditional litigation. With mediation, each party agrees to a resolution only after compromising on the terms with their spouse. By drafting agreements through empathy and mutual understanding, each party becomes invested in the agreement and more motivated to uphold their end.
Legal counsel can provide more information
Spouses considering divorce can reach out to a local attorney familiar with divorce law for more information. An attorney can help hire a mediator, draft resolutions and work with the local courts.