Emotional stress can drive up divorce costs, so try to minimise it as much as possible. Divorce mediation may help you and your husband avoid a costly trial, court hearings, discovery, and finger-pointing. Read on to see if it’s for you.
What’s divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation allows divorcing couples to meet with a neutral, specialised third party to discuss and solve divorce-related issues. A divorce trial is more time-consuming, unpleasant, and expensive than mediation and progresses much more slowly. Couples who mediate their divorce preserve power and authority in their own hands throughout the process. You and your spouse have the last word on divorce problems.
Even if a lack of communication caused the split, mediation can enhance your capacity to communicate. With a qualified mediator, even couples who struggle with communication may resolve their issue.
Who will be the mediator?
Children make divorce more difficult. Divorcing parents must choose a mediator who can handle matters including child custody, visitation rights, and child support.
Your mediator should know state divorce laws and dispute resolution approaches. Your mediator should be willing to foster a meaningful discussion between you and your husband. This may reduce finger-pointing and other divorce turmoil. In most circumstances, mediators will help you stay on track and resolve unresolved issues. Your mediator cannot make decisions for you, compel either spouse to accept a settlement, or ask either spouse to sign a document.
After you and your spouse agree to utilise mediation and choose a mediator, the mediation procedure begins. Since mediation is optional in most countries, a judge cannot compel one spouse to participate if the other wants a formal divorce. Many jurisdictions require spouses to show the court that they have tried to negotiate in good faith before scheduling any additional sessions.
If both parties agree to mediate, the procedure may be successful. First, schedule a meeting between the parties and the mediator. During the first meeting, each spouse can discuss their expectations about the most common divorce issues, including:
Child custody, visitation, child support, and alimony may be imposed.
Through this initial talk, the mediator can gauge how far apart you are and what needs improvement.
Unlike divorce, mediation has no time constraints. You, your spouse, and the mediator can prolong the divorce mediation procedure as long as you like. Costs rise with time and meetings. You can meet weekly, monthly, or whenever you choose. Most marital conflicts may be handled through mediation in a few sessions, saving thousands of dollars compared to court.
After you address any remaining issues, the mediator will produce a divorce settlement agreement for both spouses (and their attorneys) to sign and submit to the judge for final approval.
Could divorce mediation help you?
Some spouses may not find mediation successful, despite its success in lowering divorce friction and expense. In most cases of domestic or emotional abuse, it’s not appropriate. Examples: Even if that’s not possible, conventional mediation is unlikely to succeed under the following situations:
if your partner has a history of abuse or harasses or dominates you,
High emotional stress in your relationship hinders communication and cooperation. Your partner may be keeping money or other assets secret from you (or wasting them), has a drug use issue and is rejecting treatment, or you or your partner filed for a “fault” divorce, claiming the other partner’s irresponsible behaviour caused the marriage’s demise.
In cases of abuse or significant conflict, you may wish to employ online mediation, separate mediation sessions for you and your spouse, or all of these alternatives. If none of these applies, you probably won’t require a divorce lawyer. If any of them apply to you or if your spouse has hired an attorney, you probably will. If you have questions after reading this, see a lawyer. (Learn the pros and cons of divorce mediation.)
Before the first mediation session, the mediator must interview all parties and explain the procedure. If you haven’t already, arrange payment terms with the other party.
If you’re engaged in private mediation, you may have given the mediator your contact information, marital duration, and whether you have children. In public mediation, the mediator will approach this step differently. If the court requires you to attend mediation, you may have just met your mediator; thus, administrative concerns must be resolved before the mediation can begin.
The mediator will present an agenda, explain the day’s proceedings, and answer your and your spouse’s questions.
Online divorce mediation?
Face-to-face mediation isn’t for everyone. Since you and your lover don’t live close, you may not want to be together. Both parties can participate in online divorce mediation from any internet-connected location. You can ask individual mediators if they offer online sessions or use an internet mediation firm to find a good match.
Next, gather data.
You, your spouse, and the mediator must all have a thorough knowledge of all the divorce facts to ensure a successful mediation. The mediator will ask you and your spouse about areas of agreement and unresolved concerns at the start of this stage (or maybe Stage 1). Most divorcing spouses must discuss the following subjects during mediation:
Property distribution includes assets and debts, spousal support (alimony), and child support (if applicable).
Your mediator may have requested you to bring bank statements, pay stubs, and school schedules to the mediation conference. If not, the mediator will help you determine what to bring. If you can’t find a crucial document or don’t know anything important, the mediator may make ideas.
As you go, the mediator will offer a summary of the content. If you agree that more research or an unbiased expert is needed, we’ll put those items on a “to-do” list.
At this stage, the mediator may also discuss the legal standards relating to your divorce’s contentious issues. The mediator may clarify state regulations on property division, child support, and alimony. Your mediator provides this material to help you understand what may happen if you ask a court to determine these topics. This will help you make smart settlement selections.
If you already know enough about your problem and have ideas about how to solve it, resist the urge to tune out. The mediator’s goal is to make sure you and your spouse have all the facts and information you need to achieve a legally binding settlement you won’t regret signing, even if you may want to rush straight into the discussions.
Depending on your preparation and material, this second phase may take two or more sessions. If you need more information to address an issue—for example, an appraisal to split real estate—the mediator may postpone that discussion until a later session.
Third stage: defining divorce issues
During “framing,” the mediator helps each partner outline their “needs and interests.” This entails discussing each person’s planned results, reasons for wanting them, difficulties, priorities, goals, and values. Mediation aims to satisfy each spouse’s major interests. Needs and interests help frame this mediation goal.
Partner interests and requirements often overlap. This is especially probable if a couple’s children are a concern. When this happens, settlement is more likely. It’s not always possible to negotiate a solution that fulfils all parties’ interests. When divorcing, it’s typical for parties to make sacrifices when dividing limited resources between two residences. If a mediator can identify and work through each spouse’s most important goals and interests, the resulting compromises will likely be acceptable to both parties.
Some mediators believe that conducting the framing stage in private with each spouse is the best way to prepare you for the bargaining stage. Other mediators favour combined sessions because they believe it strengthens the give-and-take of the negotiating stage. This conviction causes them to favour combined sessions. Separate sessions will make the mediation process longer and more expensive. Anything important discussed in one session must be relayed to the other spouse in the next.
Does divorce mediation help?
Working with a mediator and cooperating may be the best method to achieve a divorce with the minimum dispute. You and your husband must agree for mediation to work. If the following statements are true, you will have a successful mediation.
You and your spouse are divorcing.
Not all divorces entail fighting or other unpleasantness, despite what we see on TV and hear from friends and family. Both parties may consent to divorce. If you and your spouse decide the marriage is over, you can file for divorce together. Any spouse may do so with the other’s consent. When you’re both on the same page during mediation, it’s easier to discuss and resolve divorce difficulties.
No domestic violence is evident.
All parties, including the mediator, must meet regularly throughout divorce mediation. Most mediators won’t handle your case if you and your husband have a history of domestic violence because it’s difficult to keep both spouses on track and to discern if the victim agrees to the settlement out of fear of the abuser. Most mediators won’t take your case if you have a history of domestic violence. If you have a history of physical violence, a court that requires mediation will exclude you from participating.
Both Spouses Are Open About Money
Financial split is frequently one of the hardest parts of a divorce. Both sides must provide sensitive information with the mediator. This comprises bank account, retirement, pension, stock, and other asset or debt paperwork. One spouse usually understands the family’s assets and duties better than the other, although not always. Before agreeing to a property settlement, you must grasp your marital estate if you don’t already.
You’ve settled custody
Child custody and visitation are frequently the most painful aspects of a divorce. Most parents can set aside their differences for their children, but sometimes even those with the best intentions face barriers.
Divorce mediation is a great method to work with your co-parent to make decisions about child care, child support, and visitation with the non-custodial parent.
The greatest way to ensure that your divorce choice protects your children’s best interests is to negotiate custody with your husband. If you can’t agree on child custody via conversation and negotiation, your mediator may be able to offer ways to resolve the issue without court intervention.
If you and your spouse can’t agree on child custody, especially if abuse or neglect is alleged, you’ll require judicial intervention. Before making a final decision, the court will follow your state’s custody system to determine what’s in your child’s best interests.