Divorce Without Court – How Mediation Can Help

Reaching an agreement with your ex about all the issues stemming from your marriage, or relationship, can allow you to bypass the nasty court battle, and move on with your life with dignity. But how do you reach an agreement? If you are unable to agree, or don’t know where to start, what issues need to be addressed, mediation can help.  It gives you an opportunity to come to the table and have a conversation about what is best for your family.

What is mediation:  

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), meaning it is a process used to resolve a dispute, other than having a judge decide at trial.   A mediator is a neutral, expert third party that helps you negotiate agreements regarding all kinds of issues, including parenting plans, custody, finances, child support, property and other issues relating to your marriage.  

During a series of meetings the mediator will facilitate discussions to help you negotiate the terms of an agreement – a parenting plan, divorce settlement, etc.  The mediator will remain neutral throughout the process, not taking sides or making decisions for you. Instead, the mediator will guide you through the different areas that need to be addressed, focusing discussion on the negotiations and help you identify and address any areas of disagreement.

Why give mediation a go?

Divorce litigation can be devastating – emotionally and financially.  Mediation offers an alternative that is worth considering, for all of the possible benefits:

  • Cost effective:  Resolving your divorce or parenting plan through mediation is a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney to represent you in a contested trial.  The fees charged by mediators are generally lower than those charged by attorneys, and the time spent by the mediator is much less than an attorney preparing for trial.
  • Faster:  The court process is slow and involves multiple court appearances, and often waiting for months, to get to an actual trial.  The COVID-19 pandemic caused a backlog that still exists in many court systems.  During mediation you are able to move forward at your own pace.
  • Private:  What happens during mediation is confidential, as opposed to what is said in pleadings filed with the court and in an open courtroom.
  • Control: In mediation, you have more control over the outcome of your divorce and parenting plan. Rather than leaving the decision-making to a judge, you can create a settlement that meets your family’s unique needs and concerns.

Long Term Benefits for Your Family

Still need to be convinced to give mediation a try?  Research shows the long term benefits of mediation on the people who matter the most – your kids.  In a long term study, done by Dr. Robert E. Emery, some families who had filed for divorce were randomly assigned to mediation.  Twelve years later when they looked back at the parent’s who had mediated, there was less co-parenting conflict.  We know that kids adjust better when conflict is controlled, and that children need to maintain a good relationship with at least one (hopefully, both) parents.  Both of these outcomes are more likely when families went to mediation.

Mediation is an opportunity to not just negotiate an agreement, but to renegotiate your relationship going forward.  This shift creates a co-parenting relationship with more focus on on the children and less conflict.  The result is that families that negotiate their agreements outside of court are less likely to end up back in court later on.  Mediation can help you get there.

How Does it Work?

I can help you and your family work towards more cooperative resolution through mediation.  We will meet to discuss your situation, and determine if mediation is a good fit.  From there we will schedule a series of two hour sessions to address the relevant issues, raise areas of disagreement, and discuss various options on how to move forward.  As you reach agreements on different pieces, we will draft an agreement that can ultimately be signed by both parties, and submitted to the court.

Learn more by scheduling an initial consultation, at no charge, here.

Allison McFadden is a Divorce and Co-Parenting Coach and Mediator. She has helped clients navigate divorce for over a decade, first as a family law attorney, and now as a mediator and coach. She decided to focus on alternative dispute resolution because individuals should be in control of their own destiny, not the default, and decisions about children should be made by their parents. She can help you navigate your divorce with purpose and dignity – learn how she can help you create a roadmap forward here.

This information is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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