Divorce is an emotional event. It can also be scary, as many people think you have to battle things out in court. You do have another option: mediation.
Mediation uses a neutral third party — a mediator — to help you and your spouse come to an agreement on important elements of your divorce, such as property and debt division, child custody, and child support. While a mediator can’t give legal advice, they can help you and your spouse come to a compromise.
Can mediation help you with your divorce? Quite possibly. Many couples choose mediation for many reasons. However, it’s not right for every divorcing couple. Read on to learn more about the benefits of mediation and see if this process is right for you.
Benefits of Mediation
Here are some ways in which mediation is better than going to court:
- It’s less expensive. The cost of mediation depends on the complexity, but it will cost a few thousand dollars on average. This may seem like a lot, but it’s still a lot less than the average divorce, which is $15,000. You’ll avoid the courtroom, which can get pricey very quickly.
- It’s quicker. While mediation can take some time, it is generally pretty efficient and does not usually take as long as litigation. Depending on the complexity of your divorce, you can expect 4-10 mediation sessions. Still, that’s quicker than waiting for court hearings. Litigation could take years to resolve.
- It’s less stressful. You and your spouse will work together to settle the issues in your divorce. This is a lot less stressful than badmouthing and yelling at each other in court. It also means less stress for the children, which can be a huge factor.
- It’s private. Divorce mediation is confidential. You and your spouse can discuss the important issues of your divorce in the mediator’s office or other private room. You won’t be in a crowded courtroom. Plus, court files are made public records, so if you litigate, anyone can know the details.
- It’s informal. Mediation is done at your own pace. You and your spouse are making decisions without the pressures of the court system, so take your time and make sure you get a favorable outcome.
- There’s more control. You and your spouse make the decisions and control the outcome with help from the mediator. You are not subject to a decision made by a judge who knows nothing about your situation and realistically cannot make the best decision for your case.
When Mediation is Not a Good Idea
While mediation has many benefits, it’s not always helpful. Here are some downsides of mediation:
- It’s not effective when abuse is involved. You won’t be able to negotiate with someone who is abusive toward you. In these cases, your spouse is only looking out for their best interests, so go straight to court and let your story be heard.
- It won’t work if one or both parties are out for revenge. If you or your spouse just want to spite each other, then mediation isn’t going to help. You need to be able to negotiate and come to a settlement.
- You need to come to an agreement. If the main reason for your divorce was that you just can’t get along with each other, then you’re not a good candidate for mediation. Both parties need to be able to come to an agreement in order for mediation to work.
- Mediation is not always fair. If you’re not familiar with state laws and don’t understand that you are entitled to receive in a divorce, then you could be leaving a lot of assets on the table. You may or may not get a fair outcome.
- You’re not getting legal advice. In mediation, you can bring a lawyer to court, but many people do not. This can be a disadvantage because you’re not getting legal advice. While the mediator can guide you toward an agreement, they are not allowed to give legal advice. So if you’re not sure about something, you’re pretty much on your own.
- Your spouse might be hiding assets. A lawyer can help account for all assets and determine if any are hidden. A mediator doesn’t look for that, so if your spouse is hiding cash or other assets, you may never know and that puts you at a serious disadvantage.
Contact Us Today
Mediation is often seen as the best way to take care of all your issues in a divorce. In many cases, it can be beneficial. In some situations, though, it can be a disadvantage.
Get the best outcome possible for your divorce. Seek legal help from the Delaware divorce attorneys at Lawrence Law Office. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (614) 363-0752.