If you and your spouse are looking to settle your divorce as amicably, affordably, and efficiently as possible, divorce mediation might be right for you. Our Massachusetts divorce mediation attorneys explain the benefits of this procedure and how it works.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a method of negotiating a marriage separation outside of court. Guided by a neutral third party called a mediator, a couple can work together to separate their assets and resolve any lingering issues without spending their time and energy fighting things out in divorce court.
The benefits of divorce mediation include:
- Mediation is far more affordable and efficient than traditional divorce court
- Mediation is private and confidential; there is no public record
- Mediation can be scheduled at times that work for you, rather than what a court decides
- You and your spouse can oversee any decision making, rather than a judge
- Most mediations end in a successful, mutually agreed upon settlement that resolves all issues
What Can I Expect During Divorce Mediation?
During divorce mediation, both parties will meet with a mediator individually and as a group to discuss each person’s wants and needs. The goal is to secure a solution that works best for everyone, including any dependents. While mediation won’t look the same for every couple, it generally follows an established pattern.
The divorce mediation process typically includes the following steps:
- One-on-one meeting with the mediator: Both you and your spouse will have the chance to meet with your mediator individually to discuss your unique needs and perspectives before the mediation begins.
- The inaugural group meeting: Once the initial one-on-one meetings have concluded, you, your spouse, and the mediator will come together to discuss any issues at hand. This meeting may be the only one necessary, or the first of many.
- Negotiation proceedings: If needed, everyone will continue meeting regularly until everything has been resolved in a manner that pleases all parties involved.
- Completing the agreement: Once every issue has been discussed and decided, the mediation will end, and you and your spouse will be able to finalize your divorce.
Every aspect of your divorce that requires a collaborative resolution can and will be discussed. Mediators are trained in relevant fields and skills such as family law and conflict resolution and will facilitate throughout. Any choices that are made will ultimately be finalized by you and your spouse.
Issues that you and your spouse will be able to work through include:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Parenting time
- Property division
Unlike traditional divorce, mediation is not a final, binding process. If you or your spouse are unhappy with the solutions proposed during mediation, you have the right to hire your own attorneys and take each other to court.
Who is Divorce Mediation For?
Divorce mediation might sound like a dream come true compared to the horror stories that are sometimes associated with divorce court. But it won’t work for everyone.
Three key components must be shared among the members of a couple for mediation to work. Both of you must be:
- Open to compromise
- Prepared to see things from your spouse’s perspective
- Willing to listen to your spouse’s needs, wants, and concerns
While divorce mediation is a great option for couples who remain on good terms or are at least willing to work together, it isn’t viable for everyone. Mediation is usually not recommended if one or more members of the marriage are elusive, abusive, and/or resistant.
Fortunately, mediation doesn’t necessitate that you and your spouse be on the best of terms. All it requires is for both of you to have an open mind.