Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation For Divorce Settlements
Many divorcing couples will find that they prefer mediation to litigation because it is less expensive and, takes less time, and the divorcing partners solve their own issues.
Many couples decide to end their relationships in an amicable manner. With the complexities involved in a divorce, there will undoubtedly be issues that are sticking points. For some couples working through the alternative dispute process may provide an alternative to a long drawn out court trial. Divorce mediation encompasses a collaborative environment where the parties may be able to craft solutions that work better than what a judge imposes following trial.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a resolution process conducted by a neutral third party. A mediator seeks to bring the parties to agreement on disputed issues. A mediator is not a judge. The neutral's goal is to assist parties in reaching a collaborative resolution that is mutually agreeable. Unlike judges, mediators can deviate from traditional court rules. Agreements are tailored to the parties' specific circumstances and needs.
Mediation Vs. Litigation
Mediation is different from traditional litigation in several important ways:
- It encourages the parties to work together and keep communication open, which can make the overall divorce process easier on children.
- It is timely, thus expediting your route to a resolution.
- It is not as adversarial as litigation. It is a mutual process, which considers both parties' needs.
These are some of the most noteworthy differences; however, contested litigation and mediation do share some similarities.
For example, the attorneys may be present in both forums. In fact, mediators encourage parties to retain outside counsel. Lawyers serve a valuable function in the mediation process and can review settlement agreements to ensure that the results are equitable. Furthermore, family therapists and financial planners are also welcome in both settings. Also, mediated solutions can be legally binding, holding parties accountable to what they agree through mediation.
While mediation may work for some, it does not work for everyone. Every divorce is unique and bringing a matter to a court trial through divorce litigation is often necessary. For example, the dispute resolution process is not useful in cases involving domestic violence or abuse. Nevertheless, mediation is an effective and timely solution for many. At the end of the day, if you attempt this process and it does not work, you can easily transform the mediation into litigation.
If you need more information about litigation or mediation in the context of a divorce, consult an experienced family law attorney in your area. Regardless of your situation, it is always a good idea to have an advocate by your side.
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