Mediation Can Make Divorce Less Painful

Going through a divorce can be among life's most stressful and trying experiences. Although it is never pleasant, today's couples have an option called mediation. Many couples that choose mediation over litigation find that it makes an inherently stressful process more bearable and helps them reach satisfactory solutions for difficult issues such as property division, visitation, custody and post maintenance divorce spousal support.

During mediation, couples use a mediator — a neutral third party — to help settle their disputes instead of a court. A mediator's role is similar to that of a judge, except that he or she does not have the power to make parties settle. The mediator assists the couple in reaching their own decisions regarding the issues in the divorce, based on his or her years of experience knowing what a court is likely to do.

Virtually all issues can be resolved during the mediation process. Everything from property division to child support and marital debt can be addressed. In addition to the mediator, each party has the right to have an attorney present for advice on the law and protecting their rights during the process. However, it is ultimately the couple's responsibility to reach its own decision.

Once the parties have agreed on the terms of their divorce, the mediator puts the agreement in writing. Once both parties have signed the agreement, it is filed with the court and has the binding effect of a court decision.

In instances where the parties were unable to agree on the terms, the case goes to trial to litigate the issues. Anything that was said or agreed upon during mediation has no effect on the court's decision.

Benefits Of Mediation

One of the biggest benefits of mediation over litigation is that it gives the couple the opportunity to control the outcome of their divorce. Unlike litigation, where a judge reaches a decision based on the application of legal principles, in mediation, the couple is free to formulate creative solutions that often result in more satisfactory outcomes than litigation can offer.

Another main benefit of mediation is that it can save the couple significant amounts of time and money. Mediation is generally less expensive than litigation, since it lacks the adversarial nature of litigation, which can quickly run up court costs. Additionally, mediation can be started and completed faster. Due to a heavy workload, it can take significantly more time for many courts to hear the completion of a divorce.

An Attorney Can Help

Although mediation has many benefits, it is not right for everyone. For example, it is generally not a good fit for couples in cases of domestic abuse or violence, or in a highly contested custody case. If you are considering mediation, it is wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Call the Law Office of Rebecca Anne Gonzalez at 210-368-2608 or complete our contact form to get started. We offer a free 15 to 20 minute initial consultation to discuss your family needs.