Why You Should Consider Mediating Your Divorce
The reality of divorce is very different than how this situation is depicted in movies and television. In these mediums, divorce is often portrayed as an extreme version of either two people fighting to the bitter end to keep everything they can from the other spouse, or that the couple is still close friends after the marriage is over. Most divorcing couples fall somewhere in-between and must navigate the line of reason with the waves of emotion and worry that frequently accompany this decision. This approach can be difficult under the traditional litigation-based court process used in many divorce cases in this country. The adversarial nature of litigation tends to promote the negative reactions and interactions many couples are trying to avoid. It also makes it very hard to reach a mutual agreement on key issues, leaving the couple to ask the judge to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. If this sounds like a scenario best avoided, an alternative divorcing spouses should explore is mediation. Mediation is another dispute resolution process used to settle many types of legal cases, including divorce and family law issues. Unfortunately, many couples think litigation and the courtroom is the only option for ending their marriage, and never take advantage of the benefits mediation can offer to their situation.
Couples with children have a much larger motivation to find a way to cooperate through the process of divorce because they know their children need them to get along and that ongoing contact is the reality of shared parenting. Mediation can be part of creating that supportive environment by sidestepping the escalation of demands that can come with litigation and fostering a more peaceful resolution, which is less stressful on the children. Further, mediation gives parents much more flexibility in creating a parenting plan that works for their circumstance and allows them to truly put the children first when ironing out the time-sharing schedule and decision-making responsibilities.
Building on the advantage of having a say in the outcome, no one likes being told what to do, and mediation gives couples an opportunity to have a say in the outcome of all the issues, which leads to higher compliance rates. Non-compliance means returning to court, spending more money on fees, as well as time and stress to relitigate matters. The likelihood of that happening with mediation is much lower.
Finally, the courts are overwhelmed with cases, and will have to schedule hearings and other proceedings months into the future. This means a longer period of time to settle the case and delays in being able to move forward. The costs are also significantly higher, and with the inevitable financial strains of divorce, saving money where possible is a good tactic.
Mediation is voluntary, meaning the parties have the option to withdraw if acceptable terms cannot be agreed upon, but certain questions should be asked prior to starting the process to ensure it is the appropriate forum to conduct your divorce. By design, mediation requires cooperation by both parties, so to increase the likelihood of success, both spouses should agree that divorce is the right decision. Part of this willingness to compromise is the need for both spouses to be open about finances so that a fair property settlement can be negotiated. If one spouse is secretive or unwilling to freely disclose information, this may not be the right choice. Finally, there should not be a history of domestic violence. The frequent meetings and interactions that go with mediation are opportunities for intimidation or harassment, and should be brought to the court’s attention if mandatory mediation is ordered, as is often the case.
Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney
Divorce does not have to be an expensive battle, and mediation offers another route that is more conducive to long-term harmony for most spouses. The Orlando mediation attorneys at the Donna Hung Law Group have extensive experience leading clients through the mediation process and can help you effectively leverage this forum to get the best possible result. Additionally, Ms. Hung is a Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator if you wish to use her as your mediator.
Contact us at (407) 999-0099 for a consultation today.