Over the past two decades, a trend in civil litigation has taken over divorce proceedings. More and more courts recommend that couples use mediation to draft their divorce agreements.
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution that takes the negotiations out of the courtroom. With mediation, divorcing spouses will use collaboration and empathy to draft divorce resolutions that satisfy all parties.
The many benefits of mediation
Couples interested in using mediation can state their preference to the judge during the initial hearing. Since mediation offers benefits to both the disputing parties and the court system, a judge will usually grant the request. Judges may rule for mediation in other circumstances as well. However a couple arrives at mediation, they will enjoy the following benefits:
- Choice of mediator: Unlike traditional litigation with an assigned judge, spouses can choose their mediator. Professional mediators use communication and collaboration skills to help the couple reach a mutually beneficial resolution. Mediators do not issue rulings or assign fault; they help couples understand each other and push for compromise.
- Choice of venue: Mediation does not require a courtroom and can occur in any neutral location convenient for all parties. This flexibility operates outside of a court schedule, so couples using mediation for their divorce can begin negotiations immediately.
- Less expensive: Since mediation does not require a courtroom or courtroom personnel, a couple will not have to pay for those services. Many attorneys will charge a reduced rate for mediation services and some courts pay for a mediator’s services.
- Confidential negotiations: A court stenographer records everything the judge, lawyers and disputing parties say in a courtroom. These transcripts are public, meaning they can resurface in future disputes. With mediation, everything is confidential — only the agreement matters.
- Better results: Studies show that couples who use mediation for their divorce are happier with the results than those who use traditional litigation. Mediation urges the couple to prioritize empathy and compromise when agreeing to terms, so spouses are much more likely to hold up their end of the deal.
Secure an attorney to draft the agreement
Spouses can find success by working with a lawyer familiar with divorce. An attorney can answer questions, recommend a professional mediator and draft a comprehensive divorce agreement that satisfies all parties.