Choosing Mediation to Complete the Divorce Process
Convincing Your Spouse That Divorce Mediation Is a Good Option
When a couple decides their marriage no longer works, divorce is likely in their future. It can be a tense, drawn-out, and expensive process if it ends up as a court battle, yet some people believe this is the only way to go. However, mediation is an alternative method to resolve your issues that can save time, money and tension, and there are several reasons you can use to convince your spouse that mediation is the right choice for both of you.
How Does Mediation Work in Practice?
The mediation process is an alternative way to resolve divorce issues instead of going to court. When couples choose mediation, they hire a neutral party to facilitate a discussion of matters that have not yet been capable of being resolved. The mediator encourages the couple to prepare and present their case and resolve their issues amicably and provides the couple with legal information but not with legal advice. Once an agreement has been reached, the mediator will prepare a memorandum of understanding. This is not binding until it is reviewed by the parties’ respective attorneys, and it is then converted into a marital settlement agreement. Once the agreement is signed, the case is considered settled, and the parties proceed to an uncontested divorce. If the family court judge finds that the parties believe the agreement to be fair and equitable, a final divorce decree will be issued.
The Process of Divorce Mediation
Mediation is a streamlined process that allows couples to complete their divorce in less time than if they went to court. The process happens over several months while the spouses discuss and negotiate resolutions to their issues. Each spouse’s divorce lawyer can also participate in the negotiations, either actively or by providing legal advice during the proceedings. In some cases, the couple has been able to reach an accord on some issues through prior negotiations, such as alimony, but other matters remain unresolved.
Issues to Address in Mediation
During mediation, couples can discuss and negotiate all issues related to the divorce, as long as they work toward reaching a fair settlement that the court will accept. There are standards that the court expects will be met when couples use mediation, and if those standards are met and the court believes the settlement is fair to both spouses, the court will accept the agreement. The issues couples can discuss include:
- Child custody
- Parenting plans
- Spousal and child support
- The disposition of the family home
- The division of assets and debts
- Future communication methods
When divorce goes through litigation, it can take months, if not years, for it to be finalized, depending on the court’s calendar and other factors. This means that both spouses’ lives are on hold throughout the process. Court visits might lead to more anger and tension as the spouses fight it out. One way to convince your spouse that mediation is the right choice is by discussing how it cuts the divorce time down significantly since there are no court visits to schedule. Sessions are held with the mediator and are somewhat more informal, facilitating open discussions with the goal of collaboration between the spouses. This means that both spouses can move on with their lives after divorce a lot faster than if they had to wait for the judge to decide each issue.
The Financial Advantages of Mediation
Another way to convince your spouse that mediation is right for you is by describing the financial advantages. Divorce costs can rise to several thousands of dollars if the couple chooses litigation. However, mediation as an alternative method of conflict resolution has many financial advantages including:
- A shorter and thus less expensive process
- Control over the division of assets
- More freedom over financial support agreements
- More leeway on how to divide and treat debt
The Process of Mediation Benefits the Whole Family
Another argument for mediation is that it not only benefits the estranged spouses but the whole family. The process of mediation is ideal for couples that have children and are concerned about their emotional and physical well-being during and after divorce. During mediation, parents can work together to figure out how to maintain their children’s emotional and physical stability, looking for ways to ensure that the children stay near the people and places, such as school and other activities, that matter to them. Some of the additional benefits that mediation provides the whole family include:
- Setting up a custody arrangement and parenting plan that works for the whole family
- Establishing a positive co-parenting relationship
- Showing the children that the parents are committed to raising them together even after the divorce
- Helping parents learn to communicate amicably
- A happier result than if the issues were decided by a judge
Mediation Can Help Spouses Communicate
Divorce often starts with bitter, angry feelings. This can become a challenge when spouses are trying to negotiate their settlement agreement. In court, they might end up blaming each other, and the focus runs the risk of shifting from figuring out a way to divide their shared life and move forward to winning and punishing each other. Mediation, however, allows couples to learn to communicate positively in order to keep the focus on resolving issues. While spouses and their respective divorce lawyers advocate for themselves and their wishes, the process of mediation is set up in a way where they need to speak honestly and openly, without recrimination and anger so they can resolve issues and move forward with their lives. This is another reason why mediation is a good choice when a marriage is coming to an end.
Some Additional Benefits of Mediation
Mediation has other benefits as well. It allows the spouses to think creatively when resolving their issues since they are looking to find solutions that work for them. As each family is unique, the ways to resolve these issues will be unique as well. It also provides discretion as mediation sessions are held privately, unlike court cases where anyone can attend. When there are children involved, this might also be a priority for the parents, who may want to protect and provide ongoing privacy for their children.
Finally, if your spouse is still unsure about mediation, you can talk to them about how mediation also helps you prepare for the future. This is an important benefit of the process as it helps divorcing spouses set the tone for how they want to communicate and resolve any issues that come up in the future. This is particularly helpful for parents who will need to continue communicating as their children grow. While not all divorces are amicable, mediation provides a path toward a less tense divorce and, hence, toward a more amicable post-divorce relationship.
Let the Law Offices of Kelly Berton Rocco Help You With the Mediation Process
The various benefits of the mediation process should convince most spouses that this is the right choice for them. You can call us at 201-343-0078 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation with our team at our Hackensack offices to speak more about mediation. We are ready to offer guidance and support through your New Jersey divorce process.