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What is divorce mediation and how is it helpful?

When people in the Evansville area think about divorce, they might conjure images of spouses with heated emotions arguing over every little thing. Although these types of divorces are common enough, the divorce process doesn't have to play out this way in front of a judge. Instead, parties to a marriage dissolution can seek alternative dispute resolution methods to help them end their relationship on more amicable terms.

One of these methods is divorce mediation. Through this process, spouses, along with their attorneys, sit down with a neutral third-party mediator who helps spur the discussion about pertinent divorce legal issues. The goal of mediation is to give the parties more control over the outcome of their divorce instead of leaving the decision-making power with a judge who probably knows very little about the individuals involved. If an agreement is reached at mediation, the parties may not ever have to appear in court.

Mediation may be appropriate for many cases. For example, those who believe their spouse will bully them or overpower them during informal negotiations amongst themselves can turn to mediation. A mediator will ensure that each party is equally heard and that neither party dominates or takes advantage of the other. Additionally, mediation can be great for complicated divorces. Although experts may need to be involved in the process, it may be easier to discuss and better understand the situation through mediation, than through full-blown litigation.

While mediation is successful in many cases, it rarely results in full agreement with regard to all family law issues. When there are unresolved issues, parties essentially have two options. First, they can take the matter to court where the matter will be litigated. Second, they can take time to cool off, think about the issues, and then return to mediation.

Throughout the process, though, it is wise to have someone on your side who knows the law and the realities of the situation. A skilled family law attorney can help with mediated negotiations and litigation, ensuring that your legal rights are protected and that you are getting the fair deal you deserve.

Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Mediation FAQ," accessed on April 30, 2017

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