The Essential Guide to Divorce Mediation

For anyone who is going through a divorce, opting for divorce mediation can make a big difference to how smoothly the process moves along. It can help both parties come to agreements more amicably. Additionally, divorce mediation can help those involved cope better with heightened stress and emotion by taking the heat out of discussions. While there are some situations where divorce mediation is not advised, or even allowed – such as cases where domestic abuse or violence is present – it can work well for many parting couples and their families and can result in a faster resolution compared to taking the case to a family court.

Divorce mediation involves both parties sitting in the same room with a neutral third party, who is trained to help people navigate their way through difficult conversations and make hard decisions. The aim is to make the split as amicable and cost-effective as possible for everyone. The mediation will cover such topics as child maintenance and parenting plans, distribution of finances, property and assets, spousal support, pensions and tax implications. The mediator’s role is to keep discussions on track, prevent any conflict and name-calling and to help the couple reach mutually agreed decisions.

Benefits of Mediation

Divorce mediation is one of the most cost-effective alternatives to court there is, in the right circumstances. The couple can focus on making decisions and dividing assets under the guidance of a neutral, trained third party. This helps keep emotions under more control and offers support for the more difficult topics and decision-making. The mediator will bring the conversation back to the points at hand if it strays off the point or moves too close to conflict. It is also one of the cheaper alternatives to court to consider as it can reduce the time spent on the process. It can also do away with the need for costly lawyers spending ages presenting a non-finalised divorce case to court.

Other benefits include the fact that divorce mediation is confidential and flexible, meaning that both parties can feel safe to talk about difficult topics. Sessions can also be arranged to suit everyone’s schedule. Topics covered can be flexible too. In addition to the list already mentioned above, divorce mediation can cover issues such as any name changes, children’s access to other family members religious or cultural considerations, schooling preferences and how healthcare should be handled going forward. Divorce mediation works on a collaborative, rather than adversarial basis. In other words, it helps facilitate communication, which hopefully laid the groundwork for an amicable co-parenting relationship after the divorce has been granted. The mediator does not directly work for, or get paid by either party.

What happens during a Divorce Mediation?

Another of the many benefits of mediation is that you can decide how often you book sessions – and how long to attend for. The process starts by arranging to meet with a mediator. You will all get to know each other in the initial appointment and lay out what each party wants to get out of the process. In the sessions that follow the mediator will guide the discussion and help both parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

If you want to meet outside the sessions to work on agreements – and if it is safe to do so – then this can also help reduce the number of sessions you need. Each case will be different, so it is impossible to predict exactly how the process will work. It is quite normal for couples to require any number between two and six divorce mediation sessions to sort everything out. Once everything is finalised, the mediator will draw up the associated paperwork and advise on the next steps.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that bypassing divorce mediation and going straight for court can result in increased frustration and emotional distress, not to mention costly legal fees and time-consuming paperwork. If you choose to go down the divorce mediation route instead of court, you will still need to have the support of a trained legal counsel. This will ensure that the process is completed correctly and that you feel safe and listened to throughout. It can also help protect the future of your children and any other dependents from the union.

For more information, or to schedule a consultation ahead of divorce mediation, speak to a member of our expert team today.

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