Divorce is a painful process, no doubt. There is really nothing like an “amicable” divorce. Thre are just some divorces that are “friendlier” than others.
Divorce gets messy sometimes, especially when they end up in court. But do all divorces have to end up in front of a judge? If a divorce is more of the “amicable” kind, then there is another option that does not the “amicable” more adversarial.
Divorce Court vs. Mediation
A different option is something called mediation. It is quite different from divorce court in that a judge does not preside and there are no opposing attorneys or witnesses or exhibits presented in a public hearing. Divorce Court is called “adversarial” because while the parties both wish to have the same result (divorce), they have different views on how to get there. Divorce court is usually resulting in a “winner” and a “loser.”
With mediation, both parties come together with a professional mediator and have discussions that are professional and respectful and they don’t point fingers or assign blame, but instead lay out the relevant issues to discuss and a negotiation takes place on those issues so a mutually acceptable agreement can be reached. Here, there are no “winners,” because the final agreement is satisfactory to both parties.
Can Anyone Choose Mediation?
Mediation is a cost-effective and more collaborative option, but many attorneys won’t necessarily recommend mediation for many divorces. Mediation is for couples which actually get along and share respect, have no significant ill will (such as cheating or violence/abuse), and any children are their top priority over the “stuff” they’ve accumulated.
Mediation isn’t for everyone, but there are some benefits to using it as an alternative option to an adversarial divorce court situation. Some of the benefits of a mediation hearing are:
- Mediation is child-centered. Children in a relationship are traumatized with being through a divorce-court situation, because the adversarial nature tends to put children in a position of ‘choosing” (if old enough) between parents, or just knowing the parents are going through the stress of an adversarial conflict.
- Mediation is cost-effective. Even if a divorce in court is “amicable,” court costs and attorney fees and other expenses can cost $20,000 or more, while a contested or “messy” divorce can easily cost six figures. A mediation could be had between spouses for $5,000-$10,000.
- Mediation is fair and compliant. While divorce court is adversarial with a “winner” and “loser” and the parties ordered by a judge, mediation works out a negotiated settlement between the parties. In this sense, the parties collaborate to reach a beneficial agreement for both and both parties have a voice in the agreement.
Mediation can be an easier, more cost-effective, private and less-stressful way to end a marriage in a legal process. While not all divorces are good for meditation, this can be an alternative for amicable couples with children. Contact our divorce attorneys today for a consultation about your divorce situation to learn about mediation and whether it is right for your situation.