Litigating a divorce causes stress as the spouses present their cases to the judge and wait for him or her to rule on the final outcome of property division, custody and other matters. Spouses do not have to leave their future in the hands of a judge, though.
According to The Judicial Branch of California, mediation is an alternative to litigation that often reduces the emotional strain of divorce and results in a more favorable settlement for each spouse.
What is mediation?
Spouses agree to meet with a neutral third party with training in family law and conflict management. This mediator helps spouses to develop realistic expectations, resolve their disputes and come to a fair agreement that a judge is likely to sign without changes.
What is the process of mediation?
The American Bar Association explains that the mediation process may involve an intake interview where the mediator learns about the case, followed by an introduction stage where he or she prepares the couple for the process. Next, they identify the issues and explore solutions. The mediator may meet with each spouse separately, as well. Finally, they create the agreement that the couple takes to the judge.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Unlike a court case, which is public record, mediation is a private process. All discussions are confidential. Mediation typically costs less and wraps up much more quickly than taking a divorce to court, as well.
Couples in mediation learn conflict resolution tactics and gain experience in working together for their common good, and this carries over into the post-divorce relationship. The lower level of conflict also reduces stress for children.