What Is Mediation in a Divorce Case?

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Divorce Law
This article was reviewed and approved for publication by Attorney Charlotte Christian.

What Is Mediation in a Divorce Case?If you are going through a divorce, you may ask yourself what mediation in a divorce case means. Generally speaking, mediation is an effort between a couple and a mediator to settle divorce-related issues. Below, we talk about mediation in more detail and explain what you need to know about the topic. You can reach out to us if you need any additional information. A consultation with our firm is completely free.

What Should I Know About Mediation in Divorce Cases?

In some divorce cases, individuals and/or their attorneys may elect to “mediate” their cases; in other circumstances, judges may order mediation before the cases are brought to them in court. Mediation is an effort to settle the terms and issues of divorces “out of court.” Mediation is confidential and about couples working together, making decisions in the best interest of their children, and focusing on being good parents.

In divorce mediation, couples meet with a neutral party, the mediator, and with his or her assistance, they may come to a resolution on any issues upon which they have not already agreed. The mediator is often an attorney (not connected to either party) or a retired judge. The mediator’s role is to assist couples with agreements on issues, such as distribution of property (both assets and liabilities), child custody and visitation, child support, alimony, retirement, and taxes.

Some agreements are reached easily, while others take much more effort and time. The mediator’s role is to intervene when agreements are difficult to reach. He or she must keep the lines of communications open and keep the couples grounded in reality.

Mediation Is About Diplomacy

Quite often, a mediator will see it necessary to “step in,” such as when couples get off focus and begin to argue, name call, or rehash bad memories. However, a mediator must remain neutral, which means he or she must not “work” for either party. Therefore, he or she cannot advise either party.

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Communication Is the Key to Successful Mediation

Communication is the key component of successful mediation. Effective mediators keep the “animosity” between parties to a minimum. They help each of the parties understand the importance of being “civil” and being empathetic to the feelings and opinions of their spouses.

If children are involved, mediators must urge parties to begin working together for the sake of their children. Mediators know responsible interaction and amicable communication regarding their children are crucial to a positive future for the families.

Even though mediators cannot “choose sides,” they can assist divorcing couples in considering ideas that can eventually lead to agreements. In essence, mediators encourage spouses to “negotiate” with each other and avoid “drawing lines” neither spouse can cross. Mediators help remove the walls of communication and nudge couples toward a free exchange of information, which often leads to negotiations and resolutions.

There Are Many Reasons to Choose Mediation

Divorces in Alabama courts are public domain. Anyone can be sitting in a courtroom to hear the “details” of individuals’ divorce issues. Divorce mediations can eliminate the need for court appearances, are confidential, and are conducted privately. Many couples would rather negotiate among themselves about their assets, liabilities, and–most importantly–the futures of their children. Instead of allowing judges to make decisions for them in a courtroom, the couples choose to make agreements during mediation.

You may have other reasons for wanting mediation for your case, and there are many advantages to mediating instead of fighting in court. You may choose mediation in your divorce for any of the following reasons:

  • You can have a lawyer’s guidance and advice: If you’d like to have a lawyer mediate for you and your spouse, you can choose one, and you can ask for their guidance and counsel.
  • It can be much more affordable than the alternative: Mediation is typically much less expensive than arguing in court with your spouse, their lawyer, and a judge.
  • You may be able to settle your case: Typically, mediations lead to settlements with all of the divorce-related issues being resolved, so there’s a good chance your case will settle.
  • You’ll be able to file an uncontested divorce: In addition to usually being less expensive than a litigated divorce, an uncontested divorce is also usually faster. In fact, your uncontested divorce could be fast-tracked by a court, so a judge may be able to finalize it very quickly.
  • Mediation can help you avoid conflicts with your spouse in the future: The entire process of mediation encourages divorcing spouses to communicate and empathize with each other now and in the future, which may help them avoid further conflicts.

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Should I Choose Mediation for My Divorce?

There’s a very good chance mediation will benefit both you and your spouse. It benefits most couples, including those who have many unresolved issues. You should consider mediation for your divorce if:

  • You and your spouse are open to negotiations: Mediation can be very helpful when spouses are willing to work out and compromise.
  • You and your spouse want a quick divorce: If either you or your spouse has any interest in delaying or stalling divorce proceedings (such as to avoid paying support), a mediator may not be able to work with you. A mediator cannot push you or your spouse to proceed with the divorce.
  • You trust your spouse: You and a mediator should be able to negotiate with your spouse if you can trust them to be honest about their finances and assets.
  • Neither of you has hired a lawyer yet: So long as neither you nor your spouse has hired a lawyer yet, you can get a mediator. If your spouse has hired a lawyer, you may want to hire one to protect yourself. A lawyer from our firm can help you determine whether mediation is a good idea, considering the situation.

Consider Mediation Even If You’re Not Optimistic

Mediation is a proven process, so you should consider it even if you’re not optimistic about how your divorce will go. In many divorces, including the most difficult ones, mediation can make a major difference and help both spouses resolve their issues. We’re confident mediation will help you in your case.

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Contact Charlotte Christian Law for a Divorce Mediator Near You

This may be difficult for you, but we can help both you and your spouse. Our Huntsville divorce attorneys are proactive and can represent you during your divorce and other family law issues. If you have questions or need legal counsel, please contact us at (256) 859-7277 for a free consultation.

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