Divorce mediation allows you and your soon to be “ex” spouse to make all decisions connected to your divorce, including all divorce-related issues, namely: distribution of properties, assets and debts; child custody; visitation rights; child support or child maintenance; and, alimony or spousal support. This divorce procedure also ensures privacy, a quicker, yet more peaceful settlement, and a cost that is a lot cheaper than litigated divorce, which is the procedure for spouses who cannot reach any agreement.
Mediation or mediated divorce is a process done with the help of a third party mediator that is chosen by the spouses themselves. Regardless of his/her profession (can be a lawyer or anything else), what is important is that this mediator should be highly trained in the process of mediation and is a neutral party.
Though mediation is only an alternative to the traditional court-settled divorce procedure, due to the many advantages it offers, many couples opting for divorce choose it instead of taking their divorce case to a court. This is because, compared to a court-litigated divorce, which: can take up to two years; may cost between $19,000 and $40,000 (depending on how long the procedure will take and the number of issues that need to be resolved); is witnessed by anyone who would like to watch the proceeding; and, wherein all decisions are made by the presiding judge, a mediated divorce may take only up to three months or even less (that is if the spouses decide to meet often to arrive at a settlement fast), costs only between $3,000 and $4,500, is settled privately (between the mediator and the spouses), and allows the spouses to decide on everything. The mediator’s role is only to make sure that personal emotions and sources of conflict which can prolong decision making, are filtered out to keep the spouses’ line of communication free and open, and, that all decisions are reasonable and made freely and willingly.
Legal representation is never necessitated in a mediation process, unlike in litigated divorce; however, consulting with a lawyer may help a spouse a lot in understanding how to negotiate properly and if the final agreement will not compromise his/her future as well as the children’s future.
Divorce proceedings involving formal court hearings and judicial decisions are always immensely costly in time and resources. It is recommended for married couples who are seeking a divorce to consider alternative dispute resolutions before entering their case into the already overcrowded court system. In fact, some Texas counties require that a couple first goes through mediation in an attempt to solve their divorce quicker and with less complexity. Mediation is an often overlooked option that divorcing couples should consider before pursuing litigation as an option.