You’ve tried everything to save your marriage. You don’t hate your spouse, but you’ve both decided that divorce is better than the other alternatives. You want to be fair, but you’re not quite sure what that means. One thing is for certain. You’ve heard how awful the divorce process can be, and you don’t want to end up bankrupting yourself and ending up enemies.
Does this sound like you? If it does, then divorce mediation may be the answer for you.
As a practical matter, almost all divorce cases are resolved through mediation. However, there are key differences in style between a mediated divorce and a litigated divorce (in which mediation is used only at the very end of the legal case). This article is only about stand-alone divorce mediation, which occurs before the start of the court process.
In the type of divorce mediation discussed in this article, the parties use a mediator to guide them through the process of deciding all the issues which must be agreed upon in order to disentangle their marriage. If both parties are committed to principles of fairness, and are willing to engage in full financial disclosure, chances are good that their divorce can be mediated, even if the issues are quite complex. When the parties are committed to fairness, they can usually either agree on the issues directly, or they may agree on a fair way to decide the issues.
Once all issues have been resolved to satisfaction of the parties, the divorce becomes an uncontested divorce. Pleadings are then filed in court to procure an uncontested divorce. The divorce decree will incorporate the parties’ agreement into the divorce decree.
The goal of a mediated divorce is to enable the two of you to part ways, as peaceably as possible. The process is non-adversarial, is designed to achieve result you will both feel is fair, and aims to provide you with a separation agreement that reflects your unique values and circumstances.
Another benefit of mediation is that it avoids escalation of conflict. This is especially important when children are involved, as you will continue to need to work as a parenting team even after you are divorced.
The mediator does not take the place of a lawyer, but mediation may well reduce the volume of legal services needed. The streamlined, non-adversarial nature of the mediation process is so efficient that it can result in significant cost savings. Mediation is also relatively risk free to try, because properly managed mediation is confidential, things said during mediation cannot be used later in court, and also mediation can be stopped any time either party feels it is not working for them.
There are three, key requirements which are essential to successful mediation. First, both parties must be committed to principles of fairness, even if they disagree at the outset about what, exactly, is fair. Second, each party must agree to full financial disclosure. Third, parties must be willing to give it a chance. If these criteria are met, your chances of being able to mediate your divorce successfully are excellent.
Feel free to contact Just Mediation, LLC, at 803-414-0185, or using the contact form on this web site, to discuss whether mediation may be appropriate in your case. Also, please use resources on this web site to learn more. There is a pull-down menu in the right column which lists blog articles by topic, or you can click on any word in the tag cloud for specific topics.