What do you think of when you think of divorce? An acrimonious split, a vicious fight ”“ an upheaval of your life ”“ but what if there was another way?
There is ”“ mediation. Mediation is similar to divorce in that it is a way to dissolve a marriage, but mediation has some benefits that you might not think of in the heat of the moment.
For starters, mediation is (usually) relatively tame compared to a litigated divorce. There’s no courtroom, no judge ”“ you don’t have to sit on the witness stand in front of everyone and trudge through questioning. Mediation usually takes place in a comfortable office with you and your attorney, as well as a neutral mediator. You don’t have to see your spouse ”“ the mediator takes care of that for you. Mediation is a more civil option than trial.
Next, you only have to say yes in mediation if you want to. That’s the point ”“ it’s a negotiation. The mediator cannot force you into a decision, but instead exists to help you figure out what you want the terms of your divorce to be. Do you want the house? The car? Do you need spousal support to help get back on your feet after divorce? Just ask. The mediator will work with you and try to arrange an agreement with your spouse.
Lastly, mediation is not final. While ideally, you will walk out of mediation with a settlement agreement that you are satisfied with, if things do not work out, you now know where your spouse stands on several of the issues pertinent to your divorce. Mediation fosters progress, and sometimes, even if you do not settle after mediation, that progress will lead to a swift settlement long before you ever have to set foot in the courtroom.