Mediation is a process in which disputing parties agree to bring in a neutral third party to assist them in attempting to reach a settlement. Having said that, the neutral third party does not make a decision and the parties may terminate the process at any time. It is always confidential and completed without prejudice.
Where a voluntary settlement is achieved, it only becomes binding when the parties have concluded a settlement agreement.
Pros of Mediation in Divorce
There are many advantages associated with mediation and the decision to choose mediation over resolving the divorce within a court setting.
With mediation, the process is completely voluntary. Within the process, if you decide that you are no longer able to participate and would want to instead engage in arbitration or litigation, the process may be terminated without any repercussions.
Another advantage is you have first-hand representation in making decisions for yourself. This can be especially important when children are involved, as the decisions reached can take into account any special needs or circumstances particular to the family.
Mediation maintains and also promotes communication between the parties, which can help with keeping the relationship amicable and avoiding hostility. This can also reduce the amount of conflict and makes the transition easier on all the affected parties, especially the children.
Although nothing is binding until a settlement agreement is reached, the process is completely confidential (as long as it is a closed mediation) which allows both parties to be honest and truthful during negotiations as nothing will be held against them in court or arbitration.
The most appealing aspect of mediation for clients is that it is less costly and takes less time than litigation. For couples whose relationship simply doesn’t work out, but they would like to remain on good terms for the sake of children, or just for the best interests of both parties, for example, mediation may be the best solution.
Cons of Mediation in Divorce
There are some disadvantages with mediation that you should also keep in mind.
First, there is not an impartial arbiter empowered with the ability to make and impose final determination on the issues in dispute, should there be a lack of agreement. This means that if both parties cannot mutually come to an agreement, the mediation fails, resulting in a loss of time and money.
If there are unresolved issues both parties will have to take on further costs and spend more time trying to finally get everything settled.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself
To ensure that mediation is the right fit for you and your family, ask yourself the following:
- Is the relationship with my soon-to-be ex-spouse reliable and can we communicate effectively?
- Is there equal bargaining power in the relationship?
- Was your relationship free of abuse?
- Will we work together to come to a fair and honest agreement that benefits both parties?
- Can we set aside differences and past experiences and be respectful of each other during mediation?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then mediation might be the right solution.
If you answered no, then your case may be difficult to resolve on your own and hiring a divorce lawyer may be the better option.
Here at Epstein and Associates, we can help with all kinds of family law including meditation. Whether you decide to go with a mediator or you are in need of a divorce attorney, please contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation.