Mediation in divorce is the process of hiring a neutral third-party, known as a mediator, to try and resolve issues. It has become an increasingly common option, but there is misinformation out there concerning mediation, how it works, and who it benefits.
In certain jurisdictions, mediation is required for couples to discuss the case settlement. Lawyers are not opposed to mediation. They realize divorce is expensive, and that mediation is a better option for many couples. During mediation, each spouse’s attorney acts as a consultant, ensuring their clients’ rights are protected, aiding in negotiations, and ensuring any agreement is fair prior to a client signing it. You will find exceptions, as some divorce lawyers oppose mediation, but as mediation grows, legal attitudes are changing.
One major misconception about mediation is that it prolongs the divorce process. Usually, mediation does not take nearly as much time as litigation, and it is less expensive. Not using mediation may drag out the process, as many states impose a mandatory waiting process prior to divorce finalization. If the couple does not want to go through mediation, they must wait until the mandatory period is over before a judge considers the case. Mediation can resolve a divorce quickly. If a couple decides to proceed with a trial instead of mediation or a settlement, the divorce process may continue for years.
Couples may decline mediation because they think the mediator makes the final decision regarding asset division and other fairness issues. However, a mediator makes recommendations and does not issue decrees. If a couple cannot agree on an issue, the mediator has no power to break the stalemate. Instead, the issue remains unresolved at the end of the mediation session.
Mediation has its merits, but it is not the solution for every divorcing couple. It is not recommended for couples with resentment or where domestic violence is involved or alleged. Those couples should rely on their lawyers rather than mediation.
If you are going through a divorce, mediation may make a difficult process easier. Call us today at 856-512-1461 to arrange a free initial consultation or contact us online. With office locations in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Burlington County, Camden County, Atlantic County, and throughout South Jersey.