You may have heard horror stories about nasty divorces. On TV, spouses are seen engaging in vicious fights and battling it out in court. You may have read stories about your favorite celebrities taking years to resolve their divorces. Children are often caught in the middle, with parents using them as bargaining chips in emotional divorces.
Because of this, you may be scared. This sounds too emotional and stressful for you. You do not have the money to pay a lawyer for a year-long court case. As a result, you may delay divorce and instead opt to stay in a miserable marriage.
There is an amicable and less expensive option, though — mediation. Mediation uses a neutral third party to help a couple finalize their divorce. Many couples use mediation to handle their divorce issues, from asset division to child custody to alimony. Mediation has many benefits. It allows you and your spouse to compromise on major issues and come to an agreement that will work for both of you. You do this without a lawyer and without going to court, so it is quicker and less expensive. Mediation can help finalize a divorce in just a few months and costs several thousand dollars.
Mediation aims to resolve your divorce issues in little time. Many couples require three to eight sessions. This is different from counseling. A mediator will not try to keep you and your spouse married, but will instead focus on dissolving your marriage quickly and painlessly.
Mediation allows you and your spouse to come to your own agreement. There is room for creativity, in that you and your spouse can come to an unorthodox agreement that will fit your unique needs. You will not have to rely on a judge’s decision, which may or may not benefit you. You are allowed to maintain power and control.
Mediation is informal. Both spouses can proceed as they feel comfortable, without pressure to make quick decisions that they may later regret. Mediation is a great way to settle the major aspects of your divorce. However, it is not right for everyone. You and your spouse have to both be committed to the process. If you two cannot agree on the major issues, then you will need to proceed to litigation, which is much more costly and time-consuming.
Am I a Good Candidate for Mediation?
While you may automatically decide that you will use mediation for your divorce, you first have to determine whether or not it will work for you. It depends on the parties involved. The best candidates are those who have accepted that their marriage has come to an end and just want to move on. These spouses still respect each other and communicate well to some degree. They are honest with each other and do not desire a nasty courtroom battle.
Mediation may not be ideal for complex divorces, such as those involving high net worth. In these situations, there is often a lot of disagreement over splitting money and other assets. The high earner may not be agreeable to handing over millions of dollars in a divorce—and for good reason. In these situations, it is best to seek the advice of a lawyer who can help you understand the laws that apply and help you get the best outcome so you can keep as much of your assets as possible.
If there is abuse involved, then those spouses are not good candidates. It is common for the abuser to have control over the other spouse, which makes things unfair. These cases should be heard in front of a judge, especially if there are children involved.
There are situations in which one or both spouses are simply not willing to compromise or do not communicate well. One spouse may be seeking revenge and therefore refuse to compromise on any issue whatsoever. Mediation requires a degree of cooperation, so in this case, mediation will not be helpful.
Mediation will also not work if there are trust issues. If one spouse is hiding information or assets, then this can be detrimental to the divorce proceedings. This can make asset division complicated, so the court will need to intervene.
Keep in mind that mediators are neutral parties. While many mediators are former or current lawyers, they cannot give you legal advice. They can answer questions and move things along, but they cannot tell you what decision to make. Mediators are not looking out for your best interests. They are simply there to help you and your spouse come to an agreement. Therefore, if you desire legal advice and want the best outcome possible, then it is best to have a lawyer on your side. While you can bring a lawyer with you to mediation, it sort of defeats the main purpose of mediation, which is to save money. Having a lawyer with you can increase your divorce costs significantly.
Seek Legal Help
While many couples swear by mediation, it is not the best choice for everyone. In contentious divorces, it can be difficult for both parties to come to an agreement. In these cases, mediation can get expensive and time-consuming.
Do you have to go to court? What options are available to you? Count on Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler to give you the advice you need and guide you through the process. He can help you get a favorable outcome. Call (954) 346-6464 to schedule a consultation.