When considering a divorce, couples often turn to mediation as a constructive means to foster open communication and minimize conflict between the two parties. Sometimes, mediation can even help couples avoid divorce altogether, but the unfortunate reality is that many couples who undergo mediation do still end up getting divorced,
However, this doesn’t mean that mediation can’t be helpful in the negotiation of an actual divorce. While many people are familiar with mediation as a tool to help save a marriage, few are truly aware of just how effective it can be in helping to solve some of the more sensitive issues associated with divorces, such as child custody, spousal support, and asset division. In the following passages, we’ll discuss how mediation can assist couples in navigating each of these issues while avoiding the pitfalls of a messy, contested divorce.
Naturally, any divorce that involves children is going to be dominated by discussions about their best interests and future well-being. Child custody is often a central factor, and it can lead to some of the most heated, emotionally taxing debates for all of those involved in a contested divorce. What many people don’t realize, however, is that it’s entirely possible for a couple to fully negotiate child custody within mediation. No matter how important child custody may be (and it IS that important), both parties going to war in a courtroom is not always necessary.
A neutral mediator can facilitate any and all discussions regarding custody, ensuring that the children’s best interests remain at the forefront while allowing both parents to negotiate in a more calm, communicative setting. By working together, parents can create a parenting plan that suits their unique circumstances and fosters a cooperative co-parenting relationship without the emotional toll of a divorce trial.
Just like child custody, the financial implications of a divorce are often extremely important to either party when it comes to negotiation. Mediation allows couples to have frank conversations about their respective financial situations and future needs, and can often lead to a mutually acceptable arrangement for spousal support. Factors such as each party’s income, assets and financial responsibilities are always considered in these agreements, and this collaborative approach often results in a fair and sustainable solution that both parties can accept.
Similarly to spousal support, the division of property is another financial aspect of divorce that mediation can help simplify. Short of children, property and asset division are often what leads to the most friction in a divorce, and with the median value of an owner-occupied housing unit in Maryland sitting at $338,500, it’s easy to see why.
Just like with a spousal support agreement, mediation allows divorcing couples to engage in a structured discussion, guided by the mediator, to determine a fair division of their marital property and debts. No matter how complicated either party’s asset portfolio may be, they can be negotiated through mediation without facing off in court.
Benefits of mediation
By definition, mediation often encourages more open and respectful communication than what you would see in a traditional contested divorce. In turn, these more cooperative discussions can lead to more amicable settlements, and that’s not to mention that mediation is often faster and more cost-effective than going to trial. Since both couples don’t have to rely solely on a judge’s ruling, they often have more control over the specifics of any agreements, leading to a more productive experience for all involved.
Just as important as the financial benefits of mediation is that it can reduce the emotional toll of divorce, making it easier for both parties to move forward. It encourages cooperation and minimizes animosity, which is particularly important when there are children involved. The cooperative atmosphere can pave the way for healthier post-divorce relationships, which can benefit the entire family regardless of outcome.
While it isn’t always the right course of action for a couple seeking a divorce, those who do decide to take the mediation route can often work together to navigate their challenges in an emotionally and financially healthier setting, ultimately leading to more positive post-divorce outcomes.
While divorce can be a stressful experience no matter what route you take, we’re here to help. If you or a loved one are considering a divorce or mediation, then schedule your free consultation with JC Law to discuss your case with one of our experienced family law attorneys today.
Remember, at JC Law, we aren’t just your lawyer, we’re your ally.