When a couple decides to get a divorce, things can get ugly. Arguments about who gets what, how the kids should be split up, and more can spiral out of control pretty quickly. If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional divorce proceedings, consider mediation. Divorce mediation has many benefits over formal divorce proceedings, which is why more and more couples are opting for it.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of divorce mediation!
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process in which a mediator helps a divorcing couple reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce instead of having them argue it out in court. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps facilitate discussion and negotiation between the two parties but does not make any decisions on behalf of the couple.
Mediation can be used to discuss and agree on any number of issues related to the divorce, such as child custody, visitation schedules, property division, spousal support, and more. The goal of mediation is to help the divorcing couple reach an agreement satisfactory to both parties.
Many divorcees find that mediation is a more amicable way to get divorced than traditional methods, such as going to court. Let’s look at the main benefits of choosing mediation.
1. Mediation is a cheaper option than going to court
One of the biggest benefits of mediation is that it is cheaper than going to court. Court proceedings can be costly, especially if they drag on for a long time. You need to pay for your divorce lawyer’s time and the time of any experts in divorce law that you use, such as a child custody evaluator. Plus, you might miss work to attend court hearings, which can also take a toll on your finances.
In contrast, mediation is typically a lot less expensive than the alternative. You only need to pay for the mediator’s time, and you can do it in a fraction of the time that it would take to go through the court process. The exact cost of mediation will depend on the mediator you use and how long it takes to reach an agreement, but it is still cheaper.
If you manage to convince your spouse to split the cost of the mediator with you, it will be significantly cheaper than both of you hiring your own lawyers.
2. The process is less emotionally taxing than going to trial
The divorce process can be very emotionally taxing, especially if you have to go to trial. Having to relive the reasons for your divorce in front of a judge and jury can be difficult, and it can take a toll on your mental health. You might find yourself reliving the pain of your divorce repeatedly as you prepare for court hearings and give testimony.
Mediation is typically a much less emotionally taxing process. You can discuss things in a more private setting, helping you move on from your divorce more quickly and start rebuilding your life.
In some cases, you won’t even have to face your ex-spouse during mediation. If you’re both represented by lawyers, they can do the negotiating for you. Hopefully, that can help take some of the emotional stings out of the process.
3. Mediation allows both parties to have a voice
You also have more control over the outcome of mediation procedures. When you go to trial, you are at the mercy of the judge or jury. They will make the final decision on your divorce, and you might not agree with their decision. In mediation, both parties have a say in the outcome, so you can negotiate the terms of your divorce.
Thus, both parties are more likely to be satisfied with the ultimate agreement. That’s because you had a hand in crafting it, rather than having someone else decide it for you.
Of course, mediation is not suitable for every couple. If you and your spouse are after each other’s heads, it will probably not be a good fit. But, if you are both willing to negotiate in good faith, mediation can be a great way to get divorced without going to court.
4. Mediation results in faster resolutions
Another significant benefit of mediation is that it can result in faster resolutions. Court cases can take months or even years to resolve, especially if they are complex. But mediation can often be done in weeks or even days. You are not waiting for a court date and then going through the trial process. Instead, you can schedule mediation sessions around your own schedule and hopefully reach an agreement quickly.
That’s not to say that mediation always results in a quick divorce. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the specific details of your divorce, it can still take a while. But at least you have the potential to settle more quickly than you would in court. This unrushed process can also lead to a fairer agreement since you have more time to consider all options.
5. Mediation is more confidential than going to court
Mediation is also more confidential than going to court. Everything that is said during mediation is supposed to be confidential. That means that you can discuss sensitive topics, such as financial information, without worrying that it will be made public. In contrast, everything said in court is on a public record. Anything you say can be picked up by nosy reporters and publicized for the world to see.
This confidentiality can be a big relief for some people. If you are a public figure or simply don’t want your dirty laundry aired in public, mediation might be a better option for you.
6. There are no surprises – you know what to expect from mediation.
Finally, one of the best things about mediation is that there are no surprises. You know what to expect from the process, and you can plan accordingly. In court, there are always surprises. The other side might introduce evidence that you were not expecting, or the judge might rule in a way that you did not anticipate.
This can be very frustrating, making it challenging to prepare your case.
In mediation, however, you know what will happen. You will sit down with your spouse and a mediator and discuss the terms of your divorce. If you reach an agreement, it will be put in writing and signed by both parties. If you don’t, you can always come back next week and try again.
Hire a Wisconsin divorce lawyer today
Overall, mediation is a great way to get divorced without going to court. If you’re in the throes of a divorce, consider mediation as an alternative to the traditional litigation process. It could save you time, money, and a lot of heartaches. Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. is a Wisconsin divorce law firm with offices from Milwaukee to Sister Bay.