A divorce can be a costly and lengthy process, especially in New York.
But how can couples reach an agreement on the items that need to be resolved?
In this post, we will review the purpose of mediation in divorce cases and discuss some tips for how to use mediation in your divorce.
What Is the Purpose of Mediation in Divorce?
Before Divorce Is Filed
One purpose of divorce mediation is to encourage healthy and constructive communication before a divorce is filed.
It can also mitigate the overall burden of a divorce when couples can:
- Agree on all aspects of their matter
- Have a settlement agreement prepared reflecting their agreed upon terms
- File an uncontested divorce
If you are considering divorce, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney before filing to discuss mediation and whether or not it would be appropriate for your case.
After Divorce Is Filed
Even after a divorce is filed, couples can benefit from using mediation to resolve outstanding issues or even to narrow the issues.
There are several purposes that mediation can serve at this stage in the divorce process:
- Resolve conflicts and reach an agreement on limited issues
- Reduce emotional stress and damage to kids
- Save time and money
- Maintain control over the outcome
If you are considering mediation to resolve your divorce or even certain aspects of your divorce, contact the office of Winter and Grossman today at 516-745-1700.
4 Purposes of Mediation in Divorce
#1: Encourage Healthy and Constructive Communication
Divorce mediation is a process that allows divorcing couples to communicate in a healthy and constructive way. Resolving differences requires communication. Mediation encourages this to assist parties in negotiating their own resolution. Parties are more likely to comply with an agreement that they negotiated.
Divorce can be expensive and drawn-out when couples are unable to reach an agreement on their own.
On the other hand, divorce mediation provides parties with the opportunity for:
- Communication without outside interference from judges.
- Reasoning through why certain aspects of the divorce should be handled a certain way.
- Developing a parenting plan that suits the needs of both parents and their children.
- Hearing what the other person has to say without interruption or judgment.
Divorce mediation is important because it helps each spouse of the divorcing couple hear what the other person has to say.
Only then can parties work together on a settlement that reasonably satisfies both parties.
LEARN HOW TO HANDLE FUTURE CONFLICTS
Communication skills practiced in divorce mediation will serve post-divorce conflicts well because the parties have started to work through their issues with assistance:
- Listening without being defensive
- Not interrupting each other
- Taking turns speaking and listening
- Addressing problems and issues directly
With these skills, divorcing couples have a better chance at resolving disputes peacefully instead of escalating into litigation and potentially a trial continuing post divorce litigation.
#2: Mitigate the Financial Burden of Your Divorce
Mediation can be a less expensive and more effective alternative to divorce litigation.
In mediation, parties work with a neutral third party who helps them negotiate an agreement.
In contrast, in court proceedings, each spouse has their own attorney fighting for what he or she thinks is fair while the other side does the same thing, leaving the Court to make the final decision.
The result? High legal fees and often years of litigation before a resolution.
RETAIN LEGAL COUNSEL
A mediator cannot provide legal advice to either party.
A mediator should not be biased and can work with your attorney if you have one for any legal questions or concerns.
This should be considerably less expensive than hiring a lawyer to go through the litigation of divorce.
Each party should have separate counsel to consult with during mediation, often referred to as a “consulting” attorney, or at the very least, an attorney to review a final agreement, often referred to as a “reviewing” attorney.
#3: Maintain Control Over the Outcome
If a divorce proceeds to trial, the judge controls the outcome.
This means that the spouses are not able to come to an agreement on their own and must rely on the judge to make decisions for them.
In contrast, mediation allows the spouses a chance to reach agreements on their own.
This can oftentimes be a more peaceful option than trial which is, by its nature, adversarial.
FREEDOM TO CHOOSE
It is important to remember that divorce courts are bound by rules of law.
The purpose of these laws is to protect the rights and interests of both spouses.
Divorce courts do not have the power to go outside the bounds of the law.
However, in mediation, the parties can fashion remedies that might not be available to a Court and may be different from what a judge would order after trial.
#4: Reach a Settlement
The purpose of mediation in divorce is to reach a mutually agreeable compromise without trial.
Reaching a settlement with the help of a mediator will:
- Allow you and your spouse to maintain control over the process and result.
- Help you through the process so that both parties can come up with their own solutions.
If you decide to mediate your divorce, you should confirm that your agreement is in proper form and will be enforceable and fair to both parties.
FILE AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE AND AVOID THE COURTROOM
Divorce is never easy.
But if you are considering divorce, mediation could help make your transition smoother by:
- Enabling you to reach a settlement with the other party voluntarily.
- Not having to go through the court system.
- Saving time, energy, and money.
Find Out if Mediation Is Right for You With Winter & Grossman
Divorce is a stressful and emotional experience.
It can be difficult to handle without the help of an experienced mediator who can guide you through the process from beginning to end with their expertise in:
- Conflict resolution
- Mediation skills
- Matrimonial and family law matters
If you're considering divorce mediation, please consult Winter & Grossman, an experienced family law firm, before proceeding so that you can best understand your options.
We have been helping parties navigate divorce and family law matters in the New York area for over 20 years.
Call us today at 516-745-1700 for a consultation.