Divorce can be an extremely stressful process, and trips to court can worsen the cost, time, and anxiety. Many divorcing couples are now turning to court-free divorce methods to reach an agreement. But is divorce without court a safe, effective, and fair way of settling a divorce? Mediation, collaborative divorce, and even do-it-yourself divorces are all methods by which divorcing couples may reach a settlement. Below is information on the first of these methods, mediation, including info to help you decide whether mediation is the right method for you.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a court-free (or relatively so) method of settling a divorce and reaching a divorce agreement. It is led by a neutral mediator who has no power in and of him or herself to decide the cases. Parties attempt to negotiate between themselves and develop mutually acceptable terms. While no attorneys are strictly necessary to engage in the mediation process, retaining one is still a good idea. Attorneys can assist you in the mediation process by helping you invent potentially agreeable terms, helping you to consider legal and financial ramifications of your arrangement, and advising you on best responses to your spouse’s propositions.
What Are the Advantages?
Mediation, like other court-free methods of divorce, is an informal process. It is often less expensive, more efficient, and speedier than divorce through litigation. For some divorcing couples, mediation can help bring about an agreement with which both spouses are most comfortable, as the parties have a great deal of involvement in developing reasonable terms (and none are mandated by a judge). Meetings are flexible and can be arranged around the parties’ schedules rather than the court’s docket, and the more cooperative nature of mediation can assist in easing the adversarial nature of divorce.
Why Should I Go a Different Route?
If you are not able to reach a settlement by mediation, you may have to start all over again, having already expended time and money on your failed mediation attempt. If your chosen counsel lacks experience in methods other than mediation, you may have to retain an entirely different attorney. Also, some divorcing couples experience a surge of contention and stress when mediation fails, leading them to become disillusioned with the idea of eventually arriving at a mutually acceptable settlement agreement. Clearly, this would be detrimental to the settlement process moving forward.
What if I Need More Information?
Mediation can be an excellent method of settling a divorce, but it certainly is not the best choice for all couples. Whether you decide to utilize mediation as a method for settling your divorce or not, the assistance of experienced legal counsel can help ensure you protect your rights and interests throughout the proceedings. If you are considering divorce or have already begun the process, consider contacting South Carolina attorney William Mayer today for a consultation. Attorney Mayer has navigated mediation, in-court divorce, and various methods in between. No matter how you choose to go, let us guide you on your way.