Not all divorce proceedings need to be high-stress courtroom dramas. Mediation is an option for couples who are able to communicate and are willing to negotiate a divorce agreement with the help of a neutral third party.
Mediation is not only a more peaceful way to negotiate divorce, but it is also quicker and cheaper than litigation. To get the most out of the process, couples should understand what to expect and prepare appropriately.
Choose a mediator
According to FindLaw, once a couple has made the decision to use mediation, they should start looking for a mediator. In some cases, the court will appoint one, but most couples are able to choose their own. Look for a mediator who has training in divorce mediation, is knowledgeable about family law and has some experience.
Another factor to consider is if the mediator charges by the case, by the day or by the hour. Other factors include the mediator’s philosophy and style.
Prepare for each session
The next step is for each partner to prepare for the sessions. According to Money Crashers, the mediator will outline the itinerary for each meeting so expectations are clear. Each spouse should gather documents that relate to debt and assets, and they should consider ahead of time what is important to them and what areas they can negotiate. If there are children, the mediator will also help figure out a custody agreement.
Know when mediation is not the right choice
While mediation is a good choice for many couples, it is not right for everyone. It is not effective if both sides are not honest and open with each other. It also is not the right path for relationships that have abuse, violence or addiction, or if one spouse is a bully.