Mediation is designed to help you and your spouse resolve issues without having to involve a court in your decision making process. It can save money, time, and hurt feelings. If you want to do your divorce without hiring a lawyer, you may especially want to consider mediation. In addition, many lawyers are “mediation friendly”, meaning that they will cooperate with your mediator and keep the court process to a bare minimum while you work through your issues in mediation.
Mediation is becoming increasingly popular as a method for resolving disputes concerning custody, asset division, and child support. In addition to saving money, time, and stress, it allows families to fashion their own court orders tailored to their unique circumstances. Because there are not court pressures to resolve the case within a specific amount of time, mediation sessions can be scheduled at your convenience. And, if you need more information about a specific topic, such as taxes or your children’s visitation needs, you can bring an accountant or psychologist into your mediation session. If you are trying to choose between mediation and getting an attorney, see http://www.peace-talks.com/proscons.php.
Research indicates that it is a cheaper, faster, and less adversarial way to approach the end of a marriage or a custody negotiation compared to court intervention. It also tends to result in fewer returns to court for modifications after divorce. Most parties report high satisfaction with the process, and despite myths to the contrary, it is not more advantageous for either women or men. Partners who opt for mediation tend to select joint legal custody more often than spouses who utilize the court system, partly because of how well the partners got along to begin with, partly because of a slight bias among mediators toward joint custody, and partly because mediation helps parents learn to communicate. Mediation can be handled in a variety of forums, with a variety of professionals assisting.
Basically, a trained mediator acts as an impartial third party and assists in reaching resolution on relevant issues in the divorce. The mediator serves as a master communicator, referee and problem solver, working to balance both parties’ interests and to assist them in reaching fair decisions. A mediation need not resolve every issue: you can choose to consult a mediator to resolve custody and visitation issues, but not asset division. Or, you could decide to mediate asset division, but not child support and alimony. Mediation at least helps narrow the focus of the problems and lets you resolve what you can prior to court intervention. Even if you are only partially successful in mediation, the process enables you to keep much of the divorce in your own hands. For a comparison of the cost of a mediated or litigated divorce, see http://www.peace-talks.com/compare.php.
Excerpted from Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001). For more information: http://www.yourdivorceadvisor.com/.
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