Category Archives: Mediation

The Mediated Divorce

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The mediated divorce is a step up from a do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce and can be a cost-effective method for couples that already agree on most of the major aspects of their divorce — splitting marital assets, spousal support, child support, division of debts, and co-parenting arrangements following the divorce — but need someone to listen to their discussions and help them sort out a final agreement.

“For a couple that is really savvy and has documents and court forms with just a few things to hammer out, a mediated divorce can be a good fit,” Engelhardt says. “This is really for people who have finished with some of the heavy emotional stuff.”

Generally, couples do not retain attorneys for this type of divorce, but use a professional divorce mediator instead and may consult outside of mediation with lawyers or financial experts. Mediators help couples come up with a mediated settlement agreements, which can state how financial and parenting issues will be handled during and after the divorce. Mediators will meet with you and your spouse and help you figure out common ground and negotiate sticking points.

Your divorce mediator cannot provide legal advice. She can only guide you through the process of answering the necessary questions yourself. The best mediators often have years of experience and specialized family mediation training.

Pros

For couples that are able to compromise quickly and have the desire to create a healthy co-parenting relationship after their divorce, the mediated divorce can be very beneficial as it promotes compromise and gives spouses the tools and strategies to navigate future conflicts.

For couples considering a DIY divorce, opting for mediation with a neutral third-party can give them the peace of mind that there was a check and balance system in place and that their divorce is less likely to come back to bite them in the future.

“I tell people who want to go it alone that they have to be really cautious,” Hatton says. “Often, people think they know what all of their issues are, but then the years go by and there are a million things you didn’t think about when you divorced.”

Getting professional help from an attorney or a mediator, to help you better understand these big-picture, long-term issues, can save a lot of strife down the road — even for couples who are in total agreement on all of the financial, custodial and emotional issues surrounding their divorce.

Cons

If there is a power imbalance in your marriage, a mediated divorce can cause problems for the spouse who is used to giving up or giving in to their partner’s demands. For victims of domestic violence, this type of divorce can be especially problematic. Mediations are generally unstructured and not standardized, making it difficult for couples to know whether everything they need to cover has actually been addressed.

Some mediators do not draft documents and may require you to hire an attorney or document preparer.

Costs

A mediated divorce can be a true cost-saver for couples that have nailed down most of the pieces — child custody arrangements, alimony, child support and the division of assets — that typically trip up the divorce process. Remember, the fewer sticking points between you and your spouse, the faster the mediation process and the lower your costs.

– Courtesy of Wevorce, http://life.wevorce.com