Going through a divorce is difficult and takes a heavy toll on the parties involved. When children are a part of it, it can be even more complicated.
Most family courts around the country incorporate mediation into the court’s divorce process as a means of encouraging the parties to settle their dispute privately and between them.
What is mediation?
- Mediation is a kind of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a trained mediator, a neutral and impartial third party, facilitates a conversation between the parties.
- Mediation provides a less formal environment. In mediation, the parties can air their grievances and develop an agreement that works for both.
- Mediation can be helpful in almost any conflict within the divorce and child custody determination process, except for specific situations.
- The judge often orders the parties to attempt mediation before scheduling a final hearing on a divorce or custody case.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- Mediation is non-adversarial and a much friendlier way of resolving conflict.
- If the parties act in good faith, they have much more control over the outcome of their case if they reach an agreement in mediation.
- Mediation is cost-effective, less time-consuming and efficient.
- Mediation is an informal approach that may make the parties feel less intimidated.
Is mediation always appropriate?
Mediation is highly effective, but it is not appropriate in all cases. Certain cases require the court’s intervention, such as cases involving violence, where mediation is not the most appropriate forum for resolving that type of conflict.
Divorce and child custody matters can be difficult to discuss, but with the help of an experienced mediator, and the parties’ attorneys if they choose to bring them into the mediation, it is very possible to reach an agreement between the parties that allows them to design their own solutions.
Successful mediations are usually those where the parties come together in good faith and with a sincere intention of solving their problems.