Divorce Mediation: Is It Right for Your Split?
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Some couples litigate or collaborate to reach a divorce agreement. Mediation is a third option in the divorce process that might appeal to you.
During divorce mediation, spouses working through a split negotiate an acceptable divorce agreement with the help of a neutral third party – the mediator. As an impartial third party, the mediator helps you and your partner communicate and negotiate, but doesn’t make any decisions for you¹ or provide legal advice.
Mediation can either be privately done or court-ordered, which is generally limited to child custody and visitation issues with the court setting the duration of the mediation. We also provide economic mediation, which is designed to help people resolve any economic issues arising from a family law matter, which is often court-ordered.
Private mediation, on the other hand, enables you to deal with all the issues that need to be resolved during a divorce or for a post-judgment issue if you want to avoid the courts, including child custody and visitation, support, and equitable distribution of assets and debts. The time and cost of mediation is directly related to how well you and your partner cooperate with each other.
As with collaborative proceedings, mediation relies on a couple things: You and your partner voluntarily must agree to freely exchange information and commit to reach resolutions that respect your shared goals. What we like about mediation is that ex-spouses walk away from the proceedings feeling more satisfied with the outcome since they worked out the agreement together, face to face with a trained mediator. That’s a more preferable outcome than being bound by a judge’s dictates, which could leave one or both parties dissatisfied.
We also know that mediation isn’t for everyone. Some couples can’t put aside the emotions swirling around their divorce, so working together face to face to settle their common issues even with a mediator’s help isn’t possible.
Smedley Law Group attorneys AllynMarie Smedley, Esq. and Tom Jenkins, Esq., are experienced Matrimonial Law Mediators and have successfully assisted hundreds of couples in reaching amicable agreements. We believe mediation is a route couples should seriously consider before making the decision to litigate.
Mediators aren’t permitted to provide legal advice, so if you choose a Smedley & Lis attorney as a mediator, you’ll also need to retain an attorney not associated with our firm to provide you with the necessary legal advice, answer specific law questions of law, review the agreement terms from a legal standpoint and prepare documents to be filed in court while you’re participating in the mediation process. Similarly, if you choose to work with a mediator not associated with Smedley Law Group, contact us to provide you with the legal expertise you need to ensure you fully understand all aspects of your mediated agreement.
Tip: If you decide to mediate, you and your partner will both be required to attend the first meeting with your mediator.
If you’re considering mediation, our attorneys at Smedley Law Group can provide you with the professional advice you need to make an educated decision. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.