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How can mediation help my divorce?

A common perception of divorce is that it pits two parties against one another in a win-or-lose-all battle. While there are certainly divorces that end this way, they don’t have to be so combative.

Couples who are looking to end their marriage with less animosity can seek mediation, which gives each party an opportunity to find common ground.

How does mediation work?

A family law mediator facilitates communication between parties to give each person uninterrupted time to speak. This individual is a neutral party trained to help couples resolve issues. The mediator will often ask a party to restate or explain a point when necessary and ask questions that make the point clear.

The first meeting is often to establish what issues need to be discussed and what information needs to be gathered and shared to address them. Subsequent meetings are for compromising on those issues to ensure both parties’ needs are met. The mediator can provide information about the court system and common ways issues are resolved.

How long will it take?

Mediation length depends on the complexity of the issues, but the average mediation will take three or four two-hour mediations typically spread out between one or two months. More complex cases can take four to six months to resolve.

The mediation is completed when an agreement has been reached on all issues. At that point, the mediator drafts an agreement for each party to review. Once it is signed and submitted with the court, it is as enforceable as any other divorce judgment.

Benefits of mediation

Mediation can keep the divorce out of the courtroom, which in itself is a financial savings. Mediation also helps reduce emotions and bring peace to divorce proceedings, which can be a comfort to couples, especially if they have children.

While a mediator does not have to be an attorney, lawyers with experience mediating can often help the couple through both the legal and non-legal aspects of the process, saving time and money by working with one person.

Mediation isn’t for every couple, but most couples find that they benefit from mediation no matter how complicated the divorce seems at the start.

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