Contrary to what you see on television, divorce doesn’t have to become adversarial or difficult between two spouses who no longer want to be together. If you and your spouse still have a civil relationship with open lines of communication, you may consider using mediation as a way to resolve your outstanding issues before dissolving the marriage.
Mediation will give you and your spouse a civil, open avenue to air out any problems that you may still have with each other without resorting to litigation or court. Even couples who are cooperative and respectful may become tense or hostile when they face each other in court during a divorce proceeding. The atmosphere of mediation – calm, open, and relaxed- is always better to facilitate communication between the people involved.
Benefits Of MediationVery few people know about mediation because it’s never really sensationalized on television or in the movies. What’s the fun in watching two people sit in a room and calmly talk over their problems? However, in real life, mediation is actually infinitely preferable compared to divorce proceedings, and here are the reasons why:
- Mediation is cheaper compared to going to court. Since it’s faster and less people are involved, you will be able to resolve your problems more quickly, thus, less expenses;
- It’s more efficient in terms of communication (assuming that all parties involved are open and respectful regarding each other’s wishes);
- It’s confidential, unlike divorce proceedings, which are usually done in an open court;
- There are mutual interests between the couple, such as the well-being of their children;
- The mediator is usually an unbiased person who can help facilitate communication and work towards an acceptable resolution;
- Most importantly, you and not the Court is in charge of the outcome and agreements made. There are no surprises. In a litigated case, you will be bound by what the Judge rules on your case. Despite a Judge’s best intentions, he or she is ruling on your case after knowing about your issues for a few hours (the extend of the trial day) and is often not able to hear all the details to the extent that a mediator is able to accommodate.
The first step in setting your case for mediation is finding the right mediator for you. Here at Lyttle Law Firm, we can arrange for you to have a mediator with whom you are comfortable, and with whom are you confident. Once you meet your mediator, you will want to be honest regarding the outcome of the divorce that you wish to happen, as well as your situation and your background. Everything that you talk about with your mediator will be held in ￼confidence, and you can work together to create an agreement that will benefit both you and your spouse. Once you figure out your plan, the mediator will also help you see it through.
During the mediation, a divorce lawyer is typically involved, a neutral mediator is the “arbitrator” and your spouse will either be self represented or have his own attorney as well. This way, by having your attorney present, you make sure all the ideas presented by the mediator are in your best legal interest.
Even during civil, open communications, there is still the chance of tempers running high, or running into disagreements. It is the job of the mediator to smooth over these rough patches, and direct the conversation towards a healthy, progressive direction. It is normally easier to have an uncontested divorce if you have a mediation (or informal settlement conference) before filing the divorce papers, because you and your spouse will be able to reach an agreement regarding alimony, child support, child custody, and other issues that may be a problem during normal divorce proceedings.Do I Need an Attorney for a Mediation?
It is a good idea to hire an attorney who represents your interests during a mediation. The attorney can handle any legal problems and answer any legal questions that you may have, whereas the mediator, cannot offer you legal advice.Is Mediation Right for me?
Many couples have reported that using a mediator prevents disagreements from escalating into fights, and allows for easier and smoother communication. The calm, respectful atmosphere also set a tone for future conversations between the spouses, which is important if they have children.
If you’re considering having a mediation, think about whether you and your spouse have the same goals regarding the resolution of your problems. Are you in agreement towards division of property and assets? Do you want the same things for your children in terms of education, medical care, and living arrangements? Are you in agreement with regards to alimony, child support and child custody?
If the answers to the questions above is “yes,” then you and your spouse might be able to settle your issues through mediation. If you have a partial agreement, but not a full agreement, mediation is helpful also. Often times, mediation is the best means to settle the few items that may be disputed. Contact the Family Lawyer at Lyttle Law firm to discuss your legal options. We will be able to assess your situation, and see whether or not mediation or an informal settlement conference is the best option for you.