Divorce mediation is an alternative approach to ending a marriage. Rather than one ex-partner suing the other to begin an adversarial divorce proceeding, the two parties can agree to mediation. This means the goal is to arrive at a comfortable solution for all involved, as opposed to having two sides lock horns and try to win.
Notably, this process diverges from what you might think of as divorce. You may also wonder what to expect from mediation. Here is a look at four things you'll need to know.
It's normal for people suing for divorce to hire at least one lawyer, and some people take it much further if they have the necessary money and something worth fighting over. At a minimum, that means many divorces involve two lawyers and all the costs that come with them.
Conversely, a former couple paying for divorce mediation services will deal with one person. You should be aware that this one person is meant to be an impartial mediator so they won't take one person's side over the other. If you want someone to throw down in a fight to protect your interests, then mediation isn't for you.
No Forced Decisions
The point of divorce mediation is to help the two parties find common ground. It's not designed to force a meeting of the minds. If one side says they are not happy and want to pursue a suit, that's possible if there hasn't been a signed agreement.
Give and Take
A major part of mediation is laying all of the cards on the table to determine who needs and gets what. If one ex-partner needs a place to live and there's only one house, for example, the mediator will try to find a way to address both housing needs. One person might get the house and pay a certain amount to the other to ensure they can have a home. Alternatively, the two sides might agree to sell the house and split the proceeds.
The same thing applies to addressing issues like spousal and child support, child custody and visitation, dividing marital assets, and settling outstanding debts from the marriage. With each concern, the mediator will strive to handle the two parties' concerns as reasonably as possible.
While an agreement isn't guaranteed, divorce mediation stands a good chance of producing one. One side will still technically have to sue for divorce, but the two sides will send the agreement to the family court as soon as the law allows to conclude the process.