Some divorcing couples may think that litigation is the only option when it comes to divorce. However, there are other methods that are less contentious.
Mediation is a popular option for couples who can communicate and are willing to work together. It is also less expensive and time consuming than litigation, and it usually results in a fairer settlement.
Benefits of mediation
FindLaw discusses that a third-party mediator leads the mediation proceedings, which consist of both parties discussing major elements, such as property division, primary residences, child custody and debt division, and coming up with a divorce agreement together. If there are disagreements, the mediator guides the conversation, helps resolve conflicts and offers inventive solutions. Benefits of this process include:
- Reduced hostility between the two parties
- Better communication post-divorce
- Protection for children from parental conflict
- Less expensive
- Clear, comprehensive and fair agreements
According to the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation, settlements made via mediation also have higher quality outcomes, which results in better compliance by both parties.
Using mediation in collaborative law
Some divorcing couples choose to combine mediation with an attorney’s legal knowledge. Known as collaborative law, in this process, each party hires a lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement. Each party, including the attorneys, agrees to proceed with respect, honesty and productivity. In the event the lawyers are unable to negotiate an agreement, the divorcing parties must hire different attorneys to begin the litigation process.
In both mediation and collaborative law, the parties can work with other professionals, such as financial experts, child psychologists and accountants, to help make beneficial decisions. The information discussed in sessions is also confidential.