Many couples who choose to end their marriage want to do so as amicably as possible — particularly if they are going to continue to be in each other’s lives as co-parents or perhaps as business partners. They want to settle property division, support and child custody issues fairly. Even if they are still feeling some hurt and animosity from the breakdown of the marriage, they just want to get through the divorce process as expediently as possible and move on.
For these reasons and others, many couples are choosing to mediate their divorces rather than to litigate them. In mediation, the couple works together to develop their various agreements under the guidance of a mediator. The mediator is not there to take sides or determine what is best for the couple or their children. Mediators are neutral third parties who can answer questions and offer guidance as couples work through the details of their divorce.
Spouses in a mediated divorce can and should still hire their own attorneys to review their agreements and help ensure that their interests are protected. It’s wise to seek an attorney with experience helping clients go through mediation.
Mediated divorces are typically much less expensive and less lengthy than litigated ones. Therefore, if you and your spouse are committed to making the process work, you can complete the divorce and move forward much sooner than if you go to court — and with fewer legal fees. If you have children, you are also more likely to be in a better position to have a healthy co-parenting relationship.
Mediation isn’t right for all couples. If one spouse has considerably more assets or power in the relationship, the other spouse may not fare well in a mediated divorce. Mediation also is not recommended when there has been physical, emotional, verbal or substance abuse by one or both spouses.
If you are considering mediation, it is wise to talk with a certified mediator and to a mediation-friendly attorney. This can give you a better idea of how mediation would work in your particular circumstances and whether you and your spouse can do what is necessary to settle your divorce via mediation. To learn more, contact a family law attorney at the Quinn Law Firm by calling us at 814-833-2222.