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The Benefits of Mediation in Divorce Proceedings

Divorce proceedings are a stressful prospect for many, but mediation may help to settle disputes in a mutually beneficial and respectful way. Here, the legal experts at Alperstein & Diener explain mediation, how it can help your divorce and how to use your lawyer to create a productive mediation environment.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is when both parties in a divorcing couple meet with an unbiased third party who helps them come to an agreement over issues within the divorce. Mediation can be voluntary or court-ordered, for example, a judge can order both parties into child custody mediation. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, mediation can take one session or several, and if an agreement is established, it will be written into a legally binding document by your attorney or the mediator. If no agreement arises from the mediation, the divorce settlement will proceed to court.

How Can Mediation Help?

Mediation is a wonderful way to create effective communication skills between a divorcing couple, which in turn can help minimize conflicts in the future. Mediation often takes less time than litigation, and provides more control to the individuals, rather than the court. Agreements developed in mediation can also include special provisions that a court would not be able to order at trial, specific to the details of your situation, but that are enforceable once the agreement is incorporated into the Judgment of Absolute Divorce. The mediation proceedings are kept confidential, and can give a sense of security to parties who feel uncomfortable airing intimate details of their personal lives in front of a judge.

Is There Anyone Mediation May Not Be Beneficial For?

While mediation is generally a useful tool for many divorcing couples, there are times when it may not be a suitable option. Couples with a history of domestic violence or substance abuse may find mediation too painful or dangerous—although some couples report a sense of power in meeting with their former partner in a controlled setting.

However, mediation involves calm, rational discussion between both parties, and unfortunately some couples find this difficult. Regardless, mediation is rarely a waste of time, and more often than not the process can serve as a valuable learning experience for both parties.

How Will My Attorney Help?

Your attorney is an invaluable part of the mediation process. Before beginning mediation, your attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of undertaking this type of proceeding, work with you to find a mediator and help encourage your spouse to go into mediation. During mediation, your attorney can answer any questions or concerns you have, provide support during sessions if you feel your needs are not being met or assist in preparing negotiations. They will also be able to provide creative solutions you can propose during the proceedings.

Finally, if an agreement is reached, your lawyer can help draft a written version of the agreement, and ensure that you are getting everything you need out of your divorce settlement. If you require legal representation for your divorce, or wish to know more about how mediation could help your situation, we urge you to contact the family law attorneys at Alperstein & Diener today.