Every couple’s divorce is as unique as their marriage. Every divorce negotiation and agreement are different from the next. Many couples embrace traditional courtroom litigation, seeking damages for wrongs committed against them by their spouse. Others may dread this scenario and instead want a quick and efficient resolution.
If you and your spouse can work together through your divorce, mediation may be an option. This form of alternate dispute resolution has become very popular in divorce suits over the past 20 years. How does mediation work in a divorce?
Mediation allows couples to control their divorce
Mediation may not work for every couple. If you are filing for divorce to escape an abusive relationship, a courtroom divorce allows you the safety and security of a court-mandated agreement. If you and your spouse can cooperate, mediation allows you to design your divorce agreement together.
Mediation enables couples to:
- Choose their mediator: A court assigns your judge, but you hire a mediator. A certified mediator serves as a neutral party to facilitate discussion between spouses. A mediator will help you understand your spouse’s needs and desires and guide you toward a satisfactory compromise. Using empathy and listening techniques, mediators impart communication and teamwork skills that may benefit you for years.
- Voice their opinions: Mediation allows couples to speak their minds. In a courtroom, a lawyer will advise on what to say and when to say it, because what you say may have consequences for one’s divorce or future disputes. Mediation negotiations are private and not recorded by a stenographer.
- Save time: Mediation does not depend on a court’s schedule, so sessions can occur in a location and at a time convenient for you.
- Save money: Traditional divorce may cost up to $15,000 per person. With mediation, you will avoid all court fees, lawyers often charge a lower hourly rate for mediation, and many states will reimburse you for the for the mediator’s fee. The average cost of mediation is $1,500 per person.
- Draft a satisfying agreement: Most people who use mediation for their divorce express greater satisfaction than those who did not. Since a mediated divorce hinges on the couple designing their own agreement, you will have total control over every item.
Curious about mediation? A lawyer can help
If you have questions about mediation, a local lawyer familiar with Arkansas divorce law can provide answers. An attorney can help you decide if mediation is right for you and even recommend professional mediators.