There are a few different methods for divorce in family law other than litigation. Mediation is one of the more modern alternatives when dealing with divorce. Mediation can help resolve family law issues by using a neutral person to help both parties come to a final agreement.
The purpose of a mediator is to assist the couple and help them identify and resolve the priorities and needs of each individual in a neutral manor. The mediator will not force either party to settle if both parties do not agree on the terms.
Mediation is a cost-effective alternative to the traditional divorce litigation, and can be a faster process as well. In mediation both sides are working together to meet the present and future needs rather than working against each other. Mediation can help couples work on communication problems while they are going through the process, this may also help them develop bargaining skills.
Mediation of disputes in family law cases is also encouraged by courts. Often the court process can fail to meet the needs of both sides and does not always resolve the disputed issue. If the dispute can not be settled by mediation the case may need to go to trial. Anything that was mentioned in mediation prior to trial is confidential, and the court may decide financial issues, custody, and support without knowing what stand the parties took on the issues during mediation.
Not all couples can solve issues using the mediation method. Mediation is not usually suggested for those dealing with family abuse and restraining orders. Also for couples who have major power imbalance, where one may refuse to listen to the others issues and concerns, mediation may not be the answer. In order to choose mediation over litigation both parties need to be willing to listen to the issues at hand and be willing to compromise.
Mediation is a great process that can improve communication between couples, reduce tension and help each part to understand each other while coming to an agreement that fits the needs of both sides. This method can make the separation process easier for the couple and also for their children. Mediation method should be considered as an alternative to litigation when dealing with family law issues.
Written by Paralegal Intern: Amanda Schnell