An increasing number of divorces spend little or no time in the courtroom. While the couple may no longer wish to be married, the split is an amicable one where each spouse believes they can get a fair and equitable settlement without a judge.
Mediation is often useful in cases like these. There are different mediation types, but generally, it involves a trained mediator and/or family law attorneys working with their clients. The goal is to build a consensus of a fair and equitable arrangement created by the couple rather than leaving it to a judge. Sometimes judges will even order couples to mediate much of the divorce agreement, leaving the bench to handle the most contentious issues.
The benefits of mediation
There are several appealing benefits to choosing mediation as an approach:
- Cost: Court battles can be expensive, which may be an issue if one or both spouses are looking for a new home.
- Tone: Litigation by nature is confrontational, which may not fit the couple’s relationship.
- Better for families: Parents may divorce, but they will coparent and still be in each other’s lives through their children. The mediation process can even set the tone for effective and constructive coparenting as the two parents share the burden of raising a family.
- Sets an example: This civil approach shows the children that divorce does not mean disrespect.
- Saves time: The courts’ busy schedule slows down the process to several months or more than a year, while mediation allows the couple to work at their schedule, and get it done in a matter of weeks.
- Privacy: Courts have public records, which is unappealing for those who wish to keep private the details of the marriage, finances and other concerns.
- Control: Couples who fashion their agreement often find it easier to live with the results.
Legal guidance is still necessary
Regardless of how well the couple gets along, it is still best for an attorney working for the client to review the agreement. These legal professionals can help ensure that it covers all issues (and potential issues) and is binding. If there are areas of disagreement, they can also often find creative solutions.