For the past twenty years, using mediation to draft a divorce agreement has become increasingly popular. This private process takes a civil dispute out of the courtroom and places the decision-making in the hands of the disputing parties. Mediation offers couples the rare opportunity to resolve their divorce on their terms.
Mediation allows a couple to take advantage of many benefits unavailable with traditional litigation. However, this alternative dispute resolution comes with one catch — mediation will only work for spouses motivated to work together.
How mediation benefits cooperative couples
A judge must grant a couple’s request to use mediation. Since mediation’s success depends on enthusiastic cooperation, often requesting its use is reason enough for a judge. A couple can begin their mediated divorce immediately, offering several unique benefits:
- The couple chooses their mediator: Courts assign judges, but couples select their mediator. A mediator takes a central position in the negotiations but does not deliver rulings or judgments. Mediators steer the conversation toward compromise and understanding, helping disputing parties use active empathy to draft the terms of the agreement themselves.
- Lower cost: Divorce can be costly, costing a couple up to $15,000 per spouse. Meditation does not require a courtroom, personnel or associated fees. If spouses wish to hire counsel, lawyers often charge lower rates for mediation work, and many courts pay for the mediator.
- Ease of scheduling: Mediated negotiations do not require a courtroom and can occur in almost any neutral location. A couple can begin negotiations as soon as it is convenient for them as well. With traditional litigation, civil cases might wait months for their court date.
- Confidentiality: Mediation is a confidential process. The only record of mediated negotiations is the signed agreement, focusing efforts on the compromise and a path forward. Courts use stenographers to record every word said. These public transcripts may return in future disputes, rehashing old and painful arguments.
- Mediation produces better results: Polled couples report greater satisfaction with mediation than litigation. Even those who did not use mediation to draft their entire divorce felt better about the process and the results. Mediation gives couples total control over their entire divorce, allowing them to design it exactly how they want.
Ask a lawyer about alternative dispute resolution
Couples looking for more information can bring their questions to a local attorney familiar with Indiana’s divorce laws. A lawyer can recommend a professional mediator and draft comprehensive resolutions.