Whenever a divorce case goes to litigation, the involved parties give up a great deal of control regarding the situation. While a deal could possibly be brokered by the court, contentiousness and acrimony are more likely to develop. In addition, court dates are often set months out in advance, with very little happening in between. Thus, what could have been a relatively simple divorce has deteriorated into a long, drawn-out process causing serious levels of stress and bitterness. For many couples, however, mediation may provide a much more reasonable avenue for reaching a divorce agreement, allowing them to move at their own pace and addressing the issues that matter most.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves at least two parties and a neutral, third-party facilitator. The parties and the facilitator, known as a mediator, engage in negotiation-oriented discussions aimed at developing a resolution that is agreeable for everyone involved. Mediation is used in a wide variety of legal applications and is very often a part of divorce and family law proceedings. Parties to a mediated divorce may choose to retain their own attorneys, depending on the complexity of the case. The best mediators are also attorneys, allowing them to much better be able to address some of the legal issues that may arise during the process.
In addition to the cooperative nature of mediation, the method is also very attractive for many couples due to its inherent flexibility. The restrictive scheduling of court dockets often requires both parties to take off work, make childcare arrangements, and spend weeks waiting for the opportunity to be heard. Most mediators, on the other hand, make themselves much more available to meet the needs of a particular couple. Many offer evening or weekend sessions to allow for faster progress and, ultimately, more efficient resolution....