If you and your spouse have begun thinking about divorce, but neither of you looks forward to hashing out your marital problems in a public courtroom, you may wish to consider obtaining a mediated divorce as opposed to a litigated one.
Mediate.com lists the major advantages of mediation as follows:
- Private out-of-court negotiations between you and your spouse
- Cooperative, amicable divorce approach
- Up to 40% cost savings over a litigated divorce – maybe more!
- A likely quicker divorce
- Likely considerably less stress and emotional upheaval as compared to a litigated divorce
- Better likelihood of remaining in control of your life
- Demonstrates the ability to compromise and the roles of conciliation as examples for your child(ren)
Mediation works from the premise that you and your spouse are mature people who can better settle your own differences than a judge can. The two of you therefore hire a mediator to facilitate your divorce negotiations. Either or both of you can also hire your own attorney if you choose.
Most mediators like to meet with each spouse individually before engaging in joint meetings. At this initial meeting you should be clear and forthright about your issues, fears and concerns so your mediator will know where you are coming from.
You and your spouse then meet with your mediator at a neutral, nonthreatening location, probably his or her office. There the two of you begin negotiating with each other to resolve whatever issues you face, including the following:
- How you will handle allocation of parental responsibilities of your children
- Which of you will pay child support to the other
- Which of you, if either, will pay the other spousal support
- How you will go about fairly and equitably dividing your marital assets and debts
If you cannot resolve these issues in one meeting, you can meet with your mediator as often as you need to – especially if financial documents need to be exchanged. A competent mediator will keep the process moving and will not allow ideas of confrontation to impact the process.