When you’ve chosen to dissolve your marriage, one of the first decisions you must make is which divorce process you will utilize. You have three options: employ lawyers and go to court, use a do-it-yourself service, or try divorce mediation. Let’s see the process of divorce mediation, the cost, and how long it can take.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation involves you and your spouse meeting with a skilled, neutral mediator to discuss and settle the issues in your divorce. Mediation sessions are often held in an informal office setting, but you may be able to complete your mediation online.
A mediator can assist you in reaching an agreement on matters such as child custody, child support, and property distribution that you and your husband must resolve to finalize your divorce. Mediators do not make decisions or provide legal advice. They rather act as facilitators to assist spouses in determining what is best for their situation.
Most mediators will create (and maybe file with the court) a divorce settlement agreement when spouses reach an agreement through mediation.
Divorce Mediation Lawyers
Mediation does not require the presence of a lawyer. Many mediators discourage having a lawyer present because they are concerned that the presence of attorneys may create stress. However, you have the option of talking with a lawyer both before and after mediation.
If your mediator allows lawyers to be present and your spouse has one, it’s in your best interest to employ one as well. Otherwise, you’ll be at a disadvantage during the talks.
Why Should You Use Divorce Mediation?
Although judges frequently mandate divorcing couples to participate in mediation before going to trial, you have the option of mediating on your own before or after filing for divorce. There are numerous advantages to mediating your divorce rather than battling it (fighting it out in court).
- Cost. Mediation is far less expensive than a trial.
- The case can be settled. Most mediations result in the resolution of all divorce issues.
- Confidentiality. Mediation is private, with no public record of what happens during your sessions.
- Freedom. Instead of having a solution imposed on you based on rigid and impersonal legal standards, mediation allows you to reach a resolution based on your own thoughts of what is fair in your situation.
- There is still help accessible. You can go to mediation while still seeking legal counsel from a lawyer.
- Control. The process is under you and your spouse’s authority, not the court’s.
- Communication. The mediation process promotes dialogue between you and your spouse, which aids in the prevention of future disagreements.
Read Also: NOT HAPPY IN MARRIAGE: 19+ Signs & How to Deal Effortlessly
- Mediation success makes the remainder of your divorce go more smoothly: You can file a “uncontested” divorce since you’ve done all the hard work of hashing out the details in mediation. Uncontested divorces are typically less expensive and less time consuming than disputed divorces (divorces where the couple battles in court).
You will save money on attorney fees and the costs of going to trial if you get an uncontested divorce. Furthermore, because everything has been worked out in advance, many courts expedite uncontested cases, which means that a judge will be able to finalize your divorce faster than if you had gone to trial.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
The presence of an independent family mediator is one of the numerous advantages of divorce mediation. This experienced mediator will assist you in reaching agreements, which can sometimes come easy but can also require a lot of effort, discussion, and, finally, compromise. When reaching an agreement is difficult, mediators will step in to aid you in brainstorming, communicating clearly, conducting reality checks, emphasizing empathy, and generally assisting your decision-making process. They can advise you on what to do with the property you both lived in or recommend parenting strategies that have worked for other people in similar situations. They can also offer legal information and inform you of what the courts will and will not consider.
Read Also: MARRIAGE COUNSELING ONLINE: TOP FREE ONLINE OPTIONS TO TRY OUT (UPDATED!!!)
In short, mediators will keep the focus where it should be – on achieving a fair and equitable arrangement – so you don’t stray off track, which is all too easy while going through a divorce. During these debates, name-calling, arguments, and unwanted memories can readily return. Your divorce mediator will assist you in focusing on the future rather than the past.
Divorce mediation is a flexible and private process. It enables you and your partner to resolve this disagreement as parents, or just as individuals. Divorce mediation is critical for couples who have children together because it helps you to discuss problems that are important to your children in an amicable manner. It will address where and when the children will remain, as well as what will happen during school breaks, Christmas, and other major days of the year. The plan can include schooling arrangements, surname changes, grandparent access, discipline, introduction to the new spouse, and whatever else you and your partner believe is necessary.
Read Also: COUPLES THERAPY: A Definitive Guide & All You Need
One of the most common grounds for divorce is a communication breakdown. If you don’t want that to have an impact on your divorce, hiring a divorce mediator is the best approach to communicate during this process. Mediators assist couples in relearning how to communicate so that they can have a good post-divorce relationship. You must collaborate to nurture your children.
Divorce mediators are invaluable because they remain objective. They are fully independent and do not work for either party. That is, it is not their responsibility to counsel either of you; rather, it is their responsibility to stay neutral and assist in the formulation of ideas and agreements that will benefit everyone concerned.
An open and free exchange of information makes a significant impact since it allows you both to work from the same base. Working under such a framework allows you to reach an agreement in less time.
Finally, divorce mediation is entirely voluntary. This implies that it can last as long as you, your spouse, and the mediator agree. The sessions might take place once a week, twice a week, once a month, or whenever it is convenient for you both. However, using a progressive mediation service will reduce the number of sessions required to reach an agreement.
How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take
The length of divorce mediation will be determined by the issues you’ve decided to address both before and during mediation. It will also rely on how willing you and your spouse are to reach agreements on the topics that will be covered.
If you and your husband can reach a mediation before entering divorce mediation, you can cut the length of the process in half. At the very least, you may narrow down your alternatives for possible agreements ahead of time. This will help to make mediation go more smoothly.
However, if you are unable to have an amicable discussion about difficulties and agreements before the divorce mediation, and instead prefer to dispute, it may make meditation more difficult. We urge that you figure out what you can agree on, and if you can’t agree on something, that’s fine. Simply leave it for the mediation and move on to something on which you can both agree.
Divorce mediation often involves 2 to 6 sessions. The length of time it takes you and your spouse will be determined by how well you communicate, how long you are to find a solution, and the level of hatred between you both. If you or your spouse are unable to move on one of the problems, divorce mediation may not be for you. In that situation, you may need to go to court, although you should typically seek mediation through a MIAM first.
Divorce Mediation Process
Although each mediator has its unique approach, the fundamental mediation process is fairly uniform.
Prior to Mediation
You may wish to speak with the mediator or an assistant before the mediation to provide background information on your marriage, family, and the issues in your divorce. Alternatively, your mediator may ask you to complete a questionnaire. The mediator may also ask that you prepare a “mediation statement”. This summarizes your basic information as well as the divorce-related concerns you believe need to be resolved.
The mediator may also ask that you sign an agreement stating that you will keep what is discussed in the mediation confidential and that you realize that the mediator will not be able to divulge anything that occurs during the session in court.
During the Mediation Process
Mediation sessions are normally held in a conference room or a pleasant office unless you perform internet mediation. Some mediators keep everyone in the same room for the duration of the mediation, while others separate the spouses into separate rooms for private discussions. If a couple is represented by an attorney at mediation, the mediator may ask for a private meeting with both parties before beginning the session.
After the mediator takes care of the session’s housekeeping, such as the agenda, you and your spouse will most likely be allowed to make a brief statement regarding your circumstances. After you’ve each had a chance to speak, the mediator may ask some clarifying or additional questions. Your mediator may ask you to repeat or explain your remarks to ensure that they comprehend what you’re saying.
The next stage will be to determine what problems you and your spouse truly agree on and disagree on.
The following are the two most significant things you can do to reach an agreement:
- Be willing to compromise and
- Pay attention to (and try to comprehend) your spouse’s point of view.
Understanding your spouse’s point of view does not obligate you to agree with it. However, it’s likely that after carefully listening to your spouse’s worries, you’ll come up with fresh ways to overcome problems.
Completing the Mediation Agreement
If you reach an agreement and settle some or all of your divorce-related difficulties, the mediator will draft an agreement, as well as, in many situations, a parenting schedule or parenting plan. Only the issues that were settled during mediation will be included in your settlement agreement. (If you can’t agree on all of the problems, you’ll have to either agree on them later or ask a court to decide them following a court hearing.)
Some mediators will assist you in filing divorce documents with the court; others will not. (You should ask about the extent of services offered by possible mediators.)
If the court approves your settlement agreement, it will be incorporated into the final divorce judgment. You can then enforce the provisions of the settlement agreement in the same way that you would any other court order.
How to Begin With Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation is voluntary unless a judge requires you and your spouse to try it. That implies both you and your spouse must agree to mediate. If your spouse agrees, the next step is to contact an experienced divorce mediator.
When a judge orders mediation, you will meet with a court-appointed mediator. The court may permit, a private mediator of your choice. If you try mediation on your own, you and your husband must locate a mediator with whom you both agree. One method to prevent a squabble over the choice of mediator is to conduct your study and select three people you’d be prepared to hire. You might then offer the list to your spouse and allow them to make the ultimate decision.
Read Also: INTEGRATIVE COUNSELLING, PROS AND CONS.
Personal recommendations are an excellent source of qualified mediators. You might, for example, ask referrals from a marriage counselor, a lawyer, or friends who have gone through a divorce. Other avenues for mediator referrals include:
- Services for online mediation. If you’re considering online divorce mediation, hiring a mediator is as simple as selecting a service provider.
- The courthouse in your neighborhood. The court clerk may have a list of court-appointed mediators who have their own practices and are ready to work with private clients.
- The administration office of your state court. The office that controls all of your state’s courts may have a list of approved mediators. Check the website of your state’s judiciary or phone the office.
- Your local or state bar association. The “bar” is a legal professional association. A list of certified mediators may be kept by your state or county bar association. (Mediators nominated by the bar are almost certainly lawyers—more on that later.)
- Organizations for national mediation or family law. The National Association of Community Mediation, the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, and the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals are just a few of the many organizations where you can discover mediators.
Read Also: COUPLES THERAPY ONLINE: Top 2021 Programs for the best results
If you develop a list of potential mediators, you should look into each person’s background and area of expertise. At the very least, you should ensure that they have prior expertise with divorce mediation (and if you have children, cases involving child custody and support).
Mediators come from a variety of professions, including lawyers, CPAs (certified public accountants), social workers, and others with specific training. The greatest divorce mediator will have expertise assisting spouses who are coping with challenges similar to the ones you and your spouse are facing.
Many mediators will meet with you in person or over the phone to discuss their process and address any basic questions you may have. Take a look at possible mediators’ websites and develop a list of any questions you have before speaking with them.
How to Prepare for Mediation in a Divorce
Do your research. Work with your attorney to ensure that all issues are resolved fairly and equitably for you. You will be mediating child support, spousal support, retirement savings, marital property division, and debt. Make certain that all of your ducks are in a row!
Be mindful of your post-divorce needs. Make a post-divorce budget and go into mediation determined to get what you need to survive financially after divorce.
Make your children your top priority if you have any. If there are children involved, parents cannot enter mediation to destroy the other. Keep in mind that children require two parents who are financially and emotionally stable after a divorce.
Cost of Divorce Mediation
According to the Family Mediation Council Survey 2019, the national average cost of divorce mediation, including mediation paperwork, is £1,641. The lowest cost of a resolution is £500 per person, with a maximum investment of £8,000 per person. Divorce mediation typically costs £280 per hour. The minimum hourly wage is £100, while the maximum is £666 per hour. In comparison, the average cost of divorce mediation for a financial problem is £20,000, but costs can quickly escalate. In addition, the average length of time it takes to resolve a dispute in court is 11.5 months.
Myths About Divorce Mediation
For many years, separated and divorcing families have used divorce mediation. Nonetheless, there are several misconceptions concerning the process. For example, you and your partner do not need to be on good terms to embark on divorce mediation. Furthermore, the process can benefit couples and domestic partners of all ages, income levels, with or without children, and so on.
Divorce Mediation FAQ’s
How much does a divorce mediation cost if both parties agree?
You can keep the costs down if both parties agree on all main issues, which is known as an uncontested divorce. If you prepare your divorce documents and your divorce is amicable, your costs could be less than $500. Of course, there are filing fees in every state, which raises the cost.
Do I need an attorney for mediation?
Most mediation circumstances do not necessitate the parties seeking their legal representation. Mediation is intended to assist people in resolving disagreements without the need of a judge or legal actions. As a result, lawyers are rarely required in mediation settings.
What happens if I cant afford Divorce Mediation?
If you get certain benefits or have a low income, you may be eligible for legal help. If you can’t afford mediation and aren’t eligible for legal aid, you’ll have to go to court to settle the dispute, unless you can resolve it between yourselves.
Leave a Reply