When starting a marriage and family, nobody expects things to end in divorce. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life. Between 40 and 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce. If you are apart of that statistic you now need to debate, divorce mediation vs divorce.
The practice of family law has come a long way. Couples that wish to end their marriage amicably can do so through the process of mediation. This process has become quite popular over the last decade.
Of course, mediation isn’t for everyone. Some situations require litigation.
Divorce Mediation vs Divorce
If you and your spouse are facing divorce, you should understand your options before moving forward. Let’s discuss the difference between divorce mediation vs divorce.
What is Divorce Mediation?
During any divorce, some level of negotiation is necessary. Depending on the situation, this could involve property ownership, distribution of assets, and child custody.
The goal of mediation is to negotiate the sensitive elements of a divorce outside of court. Couples do this by hiring a mediator to guide them through the process.
The mediator acts as a neutral third party and helps you and your spouse come to an amicable resolution. Their role isn’t to make these decisions for you, but to help you and your spouse determine what’s best for you and your children.
At the end of mediation, you and your spouse will have come to an agreement regarding the details of your divorce and can then finalize the paperwork. This is often done with attorneys present as well.
Let’s break down some of the details of the process.
The Mediation Process
Once you’ve hired a divorce mediator, you’ll schedule your first meeting. Keep in mind the process will likely take several sessions.
At the initial meeting, you and your spouse will each get to speak openly about the situation. This gives the mediator a better sense of where each party stands.
The mediator will then ask any questions they have if anything is unclear. They’ll make sure everyone is on the same page with regard to information pertaining to the divorce.
You’ll then discuss the areas in which you and your spouse agree and disagree. This will give the mediator a sense of what needs to get resolved through negotiation.
There’s a good chance you’ll need to gather some information after the initial meeting. This could include property or asset information.
Coming to an Agreement
The second stage involves negotiating terms in order to come to a resolution both you and your spouse agree on. The mediator may choose to tackle the easier issues first and move on to more complex matters down the road.
During this stage, conflict may arise between you and your spouse. This is when your mediator will step in and help you brainstorm ideas in an effort to come to a resolution.
The mediator will also push you to be open with each other and express your opinions and emotions. They’ll help you understand the value of listening to your spouse’s option, even if you don’t agree with it.
Your mediator will also help you come to a compromise that benefits both parties. Once you’ve reached an agreement on each element of the divorce, you can start wrapping things up.
Benefits of Mediation
One of the most beneficial elements of divorce mediation is that it’s much less stressful on the children. It promotes a more peaceful resolution in which parents have a chance to think about their children’s best interests.
Mediation is also much more cost effective than traditional divorce. You avoid having to pay an attorney for lengthy litigation.
You’ll also end your divorce on relatively good terms. This is beneficial if you have to continue working with your spouse to parent your children.
During the traditional divorce process, each party hires their own attorney. The attorneys will negotiate on behalf of their clients to try to get the outcome they desire.
When the attorneys can’t reach an agreement, the process moves to the courtroom and litigation begins. Each attorney will prepare their case to present in front of a judge.
This may even involve bringing in witnesses and other experts. In some cases, the children may even have to get involved and become a part of the court proceedings.
A family law judge will hear the arguments and decide on the outcome. They’ll dictate all the details, including child custody, support, the division of assets, and parenting requirements.
When Is Traditional Divorce The Best Option?
Although divorce mediation allows the parties to come to a peaceful agreement, sometimes it simply won’t work.
In some instances, one spouse is intent on intimidating and bullying the other. They feel that if they do this enough, they’ll get whatever outcome they desire. In these situations, the party that’s getting bullied may need an attorney to help them stand up for their rights.
Sometimes emotion gets in the way and makes mediation impossible. One spouse may either lash out at the other or refuse to communicate at all. Many times this happens when adultery has taken place and the victimized spouse is either hurt or angry.
If one spouse is attempting to hide assets or cover up information, litigation is required. In these situations, one party may be so determined to be the victor, they’ll do anything to keep the marital assets.
Another common reason for a traditional divorce is when one party either leaves or makes themselves difficult to contact. This could be intentional or because of other personal issues such as a drug or alcohol problem. In these cases, a court will need to intervene.
Divorce Mediation vs Divorce, Which Will You Choose?
Divorce is a stressful and emotional process, regardless of how you go about it. However, if you and your spouse feel you can come to a peaceful resolution, consider mediation.
When this isn’t an option, a traditional divorce proceeding may be necessary. Knowing the difference between divorce mediation vs divorce will help you decide what’s best for you.
We provide a wide range of family law services in Alameda and surrounding areas. Contact us today.