Family mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that is a neutral, voluntary, and confidential approach to dispute resolution. It offers the divorcing spouses various benefits that a classic court trial lacks.
Spouses choose family mediation for many reasons.
Family conflicts come with a lot of stress, anxiety, and resentment. Divorce is a central part of any family dispute. Ending the marriage involves different challenges to a disintegrated family. Most of them are related to child custody, child support, spousal support, and marital property division.
Fortunately, things do not have to play out that way. Instead of engaging in financially and emotionally draining court procedures, spouses can resolve their conflict in family mediation.
The mediation process enables spouses to express their feelings related to a divorce. Simultaneously, it keeps fierce emotions under control, not allowing them to interfere with the conflict resolving process. With these attributes, mediation affirmed itself as an effective and mutually beneficial method of handling divorces.
Yes. Confidentiality is one of the most significant advantages family mediation has over litigation. Everything said in court becomes part of the public record. On the other hand, the mediation process keeps family life out of public sight.
The mediator is an impartial third person chosen voluntarily by the parties, devoted to finding common ground between the divorcing spouses. That is a specially trained professional with counseling skills that will help the couple to acknowledge their feelings and reach the settlement.
In divorce mediation, the process includes multiple talks the mediator conducts separately with each spouse (caucuses). Besides, there are also joint sessions held in the presence of both parties and their attorneys.The mediator facilitates the negotiations between the conflicting spouses, which usually results in a settlement agreement. After both spouses sign it, the settlement will be presented to the courts and act as a binding agreement.
Family mediation offers many benefits for children, as well. It is less stressful and emotionally less harmful to children that are often negatively impacted by the adversarial roles of their parents during court procedures. Such experience can sometimes be detrimental to their mental health and well-being. Contrary to that, the mediation procedure occurs in a friendly and peaceful atmosphere. An experienced divorce mediator will help the spouses better understand each other and reach the settlement agreement easily. Of course, such peaceful conflict resolution between the parents sets a positive example for their children.
Due to its informality and flexibility, family mediation takes less time. Unlike litigation, the process is over in a few days. Consequently, the costs are incomparably lower. Besides, mediators usually do not require a retainer, unlike attorneys.
No. The mediator cannot resolve the conflict by making a decision. The mediator’s job is to facilitate talks between the conflicted spouses without the possibility of issuing a binding decision. The mediation can succeed if the spouses are willing to negotiate openly and sincerely. The mediator is there only to help those negotiations run smoothly. On the other hand, if the mediation does not end with a settlement, the divorcing spouses can always turn to the court.
Due to a history of domestic violence, mediation may not always be an appropriate method for resolving family conflict. These spouses cannot engage in meaningful conversation, let alone a constructive negotiation. In such cases, going to court litigation seems like the only way to end the marriage.