While divorce is often painful, expensive, and emotionally taxing, it is possible to end a marriage on good terms with your partner without going broke in the process. One of the best ways to do this is with divorce mediation.
What Is Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process in which divorcing spouses attempt to reach an agreement with the help of a neutral, trained third party – your mediator. Your mediator will not make your decisions rather they are trained to help you both reach agreements on the decision you have to make in your divorce. Unlike court litigation where it is often “win/lose” or you turn it over to the judge to decide for you, with mediation both spouses are empowered to make agreements together outside of court on important issues such as time with children and division of retirement funds.
A mediator is not supposed to provide independent legal advice to either party and should not have separate conversations with either party without agreement from both parties. It is also encouraged to have an attorney review your agreements to ensure that you are entering into terms that are best for you and your family. At McMurdie Law & Mediation, we keep a close eye on fairness equitable divisions.
Benefits of Mediation
The main benefits of choosing divorce mediation include:
A contested divorce can take as long as 1-3 years to be resolved. The discovery process and waiting for a court date always adds months to your case. The mediation timeline is customized for your and takes a few months to complete. It also allows greater flexibility to schedule meetings when it’s convenient for you.
Mediation costs less because the discovery process required between lawyers is expensive and in mediation is not usually done saving thousands of dollars. There are also usually no preliminary hearings called Resolution Conferences or Temporary Orders hearing in Arizona. Working with one mediator will obviously reduce your overall costs.
You’re in Control of the Process
When a divorce is litigated in court, decisions are in the judge’s hands. In mediation, however, the couple makes all of the important decisions between themselves. The mediator will facilitate discussion on the issues surrounding your divorce and help you reach a satisfactory agreement. You’re in control of your decisions and you remain self-determined.
Divorce becomes more stressful when you have to go to court because of the preparation and the adversarial process in addition to answering to the court in the formal setting of the court room. People always dislike going to court because of the stress. With mediation, you can manage the case so that there are no court hearings and you can handle all the issues in a private setting that is conducive to creative problem solving.
When a divorce is litigated in a courtroom, everything submitted during the process becomes part of the public record. Anyone in the community could potentially find out the intimate details. If you wish to protect your privacy, a traditional divorce might not be the best choice. In divorce mediation, the process is entirely private and confidential. Only the spouses and the mediator know the details. And the Mediator has immunity and cannot be called as a witness on the case or any issue within your divorce. The court will only receive the final divorce agreement. This is beneficial because it encourages both parties to be transparent and honest about sensitive topics.
Are You a Good Candidate for Mediation?
While mediation has a number of benefits, it isn’t right for everyone. Ask yourselves the following questions:
- Do you want to save money?
- Do you want it done faster?
- Do you trust your mediator?
- Are you both willing to participate in mediation?
- Will you listen and compromise through the expert help of your mediator?
If you both answer “yes” to all of the above, mediation is likely to work for you. If not, a traditional divorce may be the better option. If you cannot agree on child custody, you may need to settle the issue in court. Also, if you suspect that your spouse may be hiding assets, or if abuse or domestic violence is involved, it’s best to go through the divorce process in court rather than mediation.
Divorce is challenging and with mediation you will simplify the process for everyone involved.