Not all divorces have to be contentious. There are numerous couples who agree to separate on good terms, and they want the process to be as amicable as possible.
Many may think that a court trial is the only option for divorce, but it is not. Mediation is an alternate option that has gained in popularity.
What to expect
According to FindLaw, mediation consists of a mediator, who is a neutral third party, and each spouse. The mediator guides communication and discussions around asset and debt division, spousal support and other decisions. When there are disagreements, the mediator provides conflict-resolution strategies and offers solutions.
If there are complex issues, outside parties may get involved. These experts include financial planners, accountants, attorneys and appraisers.
Benefits of mediation
There are numerous benefits of going through mediation:
- Less expensive and shorter process than litigation
- Better communication, both during the process and in future interactions
- Less stress than going through the court
- Communication and information shared are confidential
- Spouses have more control
- Better dynamic for families
How to prepare for mediation
As with any divorce proceeding, the process is smoother, and there are usually better results when each party prepares for the mediation sessions. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit offers some advice on how to prepare. Each side should gather and bring relevant documents, such as the mortgage papers and bank statements, to the sessions.
Each spouse should think about what issues they feel strongly about and in what areas they would be willing to negotiate. Each party should also be open to hearing the other sides’ feelings, wants and needs. Although the mediator will facilitate the discussions, each party must be willing to communicate in order for mediation to work.