Mediation is an alternative to litigation for resolving a variety of legal disputes. It is often used when a couple is divorcing. The process utilizes a neutral third-party who oversees the process and helps a couple reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Unlike a judge, a mediator has no final say over the settlement, but is there to encourage respectful communication, help a couple explore their options, and keep the process focused on the best possible outcome.
There are several benefits to using divorce mediation, including:
- Control of the process and the outcome: Either of the divorcing spouses can end the mediation at any time, and it is only considered successful when both find the resolutions mutually satisfactory.
- Privacy: Mediation proceedings are confidential, unlike litigation where proceedings are open to the public and become a matter of public record.
- Efficiency: Mediation saves time and money. It’s possible to reach a resolution in mediation in as little as a few hours. Couples take on a great deal of responsibility in mediation, which also reduces the cost of divorcing. According to the American Bar Association, mediated divorces are generally 40% to 60% lower than divorce litigation.
- Welfare of the children: Witnessing a litigated divorce that stretches on and involves a great deal of contention can create lasting damage for a child. Mediation is an opportunity to show a child that it’s possible for his or her parents to work together toward a common goal, even if they will no longer be living as a married family. Many families also report it is easier to share parenting responsibilities post-divorce when there is no left-over animosity from the divorce proceedings.
In addition to mediating a divorce, it’s also possible to use mediation to work through specific issues in a divorce, such a parenting time or spousal maintenance. This is often the case for couples who are able to agree on most aspects of their divorce, but find one issue to be a sticking point.
Mediation is a valuable tool for divorcing couples and a skilled mediator can help even the most combative couples reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. In spite of mediation’s many benefits, it isn’t right for every couple. The process is not recommended for divorces in which domestic violence was an issue and some of the benefits of mediation, including confidentiality, are not an option when an incident of domestic violence arises.
If you have questions about mediation or you’d like to know if it could help you resolve your divorce in a more respectful and civil manner, we can help. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Elan Wurtzel by calling 516.822.7866.