Nobody wants their divorce to take years to come to a conclusion, and most people tend to look for quick solutions and ways to make the process quicker and get their unresolved issues handled. Mediation is a good way to do that, and a good family law divorce attorney or law firm can help you get there.
What is the Divorce Mediation Process?
In a mediation session, you and your spouse agree to sit down and work with a neutral third party to come to an agreement that both of you think is livable.
The third party doesn’t give legal advice, but they do facilitate discussion and help you both navigate the frustrating divorce negotiation issues that neither of you have come to a solution on. The third party also doesn’t work for either of you; they are only there to help find a middle ground for you both, although you are welcome to have an attorney with you to help.
The mediator also has substantial experience in the types of cases that the mediation occurs and have good knowledge of the issues involved with divorcing couples. This means most mediation sessions can give you a pretty good idea what might happen if you end up in court.
How Can Mediation Help in the Divorce Process?
When scheduling a hearing, everyone is at the mercy of the court’s calendar. Dockets can fill up months in advance, especially around the holidays, so you might be sitting around waiting for a court date for a significant period of time.
Not only that, but it’s also very common for hearings to get continued without notice and get pushed back multiple more months.
The mediation process is more accessible and shortens that time frame significantly so you can come to a settlement agreement quickly and efficiently, without wasting months waiting to have your time in front of a judge.
Does Mediation in Divorce Actually Work?
The experiences I’ve had with divorce mediation reflect that – there have been multiple divorce cases where I’ve reached out to schedule a hearing and received no response for two or three months, despite following up numerous times. When I did get a response, it was a date three months or four months out.
My clients in all of these cases were ready for their divorce to be over. They had drug on for years or months and everyone was emotionally drained. We were right there at the end and didn’t need to wait three or four months to get it wrapped up.
In those situations, I turned to mediation. In each of these cases, I reached out to mediators and was able to schedule something within a month.
What if My Divorce Process Has Been Going on For Years?
Each case took several hours of divorce negotiations back and forth, but we were successful in achieving a settlement in all of them, even a case where both parties hated each other with a burning passion. Their divorce process had been going on for several years because they had made it their goal to make the other person miserable.
They both changed attorneys several times, had withheld custody from each other, accused each other of stealing from the home, and more. Torturing each other might as well have been their full-time job.
Finally, we had reached a point where they had gotten it out of their system, or maybe just exhausted themselves to the point of concession. Regardless, they were finally ready to be divorced and move on with their lives.
We came up with a rough divorce settlement but there were still things that needed to be brought in front of the judge. We tried to schedule a hearing quickly (before they could recover their strength and go back to trying to kill each other), but the first availability for the divorce proceedings was 5 months from then.
How Does a Mediator Help with a Divorce Settlement?
I immediately contacted a mediator and got something scheduled two weeks from then. The mediation process took an entire day, but we walked out with a settlement. Two weeks from the date of mediation, we had a divorce decree drawn up, signed and notarized, and filed with the court. The judge signed it three days later and it was over.
Both of them got to move on with their lives, and against all odds, were able to co-parent relatively successfully moving forward.
So, if you’re still asking yourself if mediation works, you should ask yourself what’s in the best interest of both you and the other spouse involved, and if each of you can reach agreements that both parties agree on at the end of the day.
Family law attorneys are experts in understanding how to reach a marital settlement agreement and what the best interests of the dissolution of the marriage. Most mediators will be able to guide you through the process of getting the most out of the divorce decree in a non-confrontational way.