Divorce can turn life upside down. In most cases, litigation forces spouses to become enemies fighting over children, money and property. Rather than resolving the situation and restoring sanity, going to court usually makes matters worse by creating winners and losers. On the other hand, mediation focuses on cooperation, collaboration, finding solutions and creating results that work for both parties now and in the future.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a voluntary process that is an alternative to traditional divorce litigation. Divorce mediation focuses on finding solutions to problems instead of blaming and fighting. It encourages the discovery of mutually-beneficial strategies geared to the needs of all concerned. It sets the stage for future relationships that are less adversarial and more peaceful.
Mediation can be used to settle disputes over things like child custody, shared business interests, asset distribution and child or spousal support. Working these arrangements out jointly with a mediator before going to court helps both parties to reduce stress and to come up with solutions that work for everyone.
Mediation Versus Litigation
Rather than perpetuating conflict, mediation focuses on creating new family relationships. Benefits of mediation include:
- Faster problem resolution. Mediation is faster than litigation. You can settle matters quickly and get on with your life.
- Lower costs. Because mediation is faster than litigation, the costs are almost always less.
- Privacy. With mediation, you can avoid the public nature of adversarial litigation proceedings. This reduces drama and lessens the emotional impact on all concerned.
- Equal participation. Mediation allows both parties equal input into the mediation process and its outcome.
- Voluntary participation. Mediation is a voluntary process, so either participant can withdraw at any time. This reduces the potential for manipulation, exploitation and other intimidation tactics.
- Creative problem solving. Mediation allows the parties to create workable agreements of their own without having agreements decided on and imposed by the courts.
- Agreed-upon strategies to resolve future problems can be built into the agreement.
- Participants are more likely to comply with agreements they have created than with agreements imposed by the courts.
- Mediation agreements are not final until everyone understands and agrees to the terms.
- Agreements can be reviewed by the parties’ attorneys before becoming final.
Although agreements must be approved by the courts, the courts usually won’t interfere with or change the agreements.
Family Mediation: Encouraging Solutions While Minimizing Stress
Perhaps the biggest advantage of mediation is that no one comes out of the process feeling like a victim. In a safe setting, with a neutral mediator, both parties can express their feelings, state their needs, exchange offers and settle on fair, mutually beneficial arrangements. Rather than pitting the parties against each other, mediation is a process whereby both participants can express their feelings without fear of reprisal.
To learn more about how our New jersey divorce lawyer or a mediator can help you resolve your divorce in a peaceful and effective way, contact The Law Office of Andrew R. Fischer for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.