When going through a divorce, couples must make some tough decisions about very important issues that will impact each individual’s future. Although making these decisions can be extremely challenging, and often emotional, the fact that a couple have decided to terminate their marriage does not mean that they cannot work together to resolve issues out of court, compromising on the things that they care about.
Mediation is one of the best forums for doing exactly this, providing couples with a safe place to express their opinions and negotiate over how to resolve complicated matters, such as how to divide property or with whom their children will live.
What Is Marriage Mediation?
Marriage — or divorce — mediation is an opportunity for you and your spouse to work out issues in a divorce outside of a courtroom. Rather than arguing through their lawyers about who gets what, the couple choose a healthier alternative: meeting with a mediator. A mediator does not represent either party in the divorce. Rather, a meditator serves as a neutral third party who helps to guide the conversation, provide direction, and facilitate resolution of disagreements.
The mediation process can be used for a wide array of family law issues, including custody mediation.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
The long-term benefits of mediation are much greater than the cost and time savings alone, however. A successful mediation can also set the groundwork for the future relationship between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, which can be especially important if you share children together or have intertwined lives (live in the same town, share the same friends, have a pet together that you both want to spend time with, etc.). It can also help you to develop the skills for conflict resolution in the future, whether with your spouse or another person with whom you have a disagreement.
Many couples believe that because they are not on great terms with their partner, mediation will be impossible. However, this is where an experienced and compassionate mediator comes in — a mediator’s job is to help facilitate the conversation and keep things from getting nasty, allowing you and your spouse to find a common ground.
Mediation provides you and your spouse the opportunity to make decisions about some of the most important things in your divorce, putting the power in your hands and not in the hands of the court. When you come to a resolution and agreement, the conclusion can be very rewarding. As a note, mediation is also confidential, which means that there will be no court record of the mediation talks, as opposed to in-court talks, which are public record.
When to Use a Mediator During Divorce
If you and your spouse are on great terms and are in agreement about getting a divorce, as well as how issues in the divorce should be resolved, you may not need mediation at all. If this is not the case, however, using a mediator from the get-go is highly recommended. As stated above, mediation is much less expensive than a divorce hearing or legal battles.
Further, you may still have an attorney representing you during the process who can aid you in coming to a mediation agreement that is fair and just. Oftentimes, couples choose not to have their attorneys with them during the actual mediation sessions, but turn to their legal representatives for counsel before agreeing to anything or signing any legally binding documents.
In some cases, mediation may not optional — a court will often order mandatory mediation before even hearing a divorce case.
Important Things to Remember During Mediation
Mediation talks can be very successful when each party is committed to finding a resolution that makes everyone happy in a timely matter. In order for mediation to work, however, it is important that you approach marriage mediation with a mindset that you are open to compromise and that you are truly committed to listening to and understanding your spouse’s point of view. If you cannot commit to doing both, or if your spouse cannot, then mediation talks will likely be unsuccessful.
How to Find a Mediator
Finding a good mediator is obviously an important part of the process. You want to find someone whom you can trust, who will be fair and just, and who has plenty of experience mediating, especially if things are contentious between you and your spouse.
If you are working with an attorney, it is likely that your attorney will have plenty of recommendations of mediators whom they have worked with in the past and believe to be good at what they do. If you are not working within an attorney, you may be able to find a mediator through a comprehensive online search, through the recommendation of a friend or family member, or through a court’s recommendation (or order).
Learn More About Marriage Mediation — Contact Our Law Firm Today
Going through a divorce can be tough, especially if you have children, own property, or are financially dependent on your spouse. To help you resolve these issues, we recommend working with both a mediator and an attorney. At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, PLLC, our North Carolina family law attorneys offer mediation facilitation. To learn more about the process and how we can help you answer tough questions — and find comforting answers — during the divorce process, contact our mediation attorney today. You can reach us now by calling our offices directly, or telling us more about your case using our online form.