Divorce itself is never easy, and the court process to finalize things may take a long period of time to get through. Mediation allows couples to come together and hash out the terms of their divorce in a less intense manner.
What does mediation look like for the average couple? Learn more about what the process entails and what it does and does not do.
What happens during mediation?
Mediation involves the couple, their respective representatives and a neutral mediator. This person is often chosen by the parties or, in some cases, appointed by the court. Mediation affords the opportunity to negotiate as many terms as possible to get closer to a final decision on all pending matters.
The process itself depends on how well the couple gets along. If they are amenable, all parties may stay in the same room and speak freely with guidance from the mediator. However, if the process is a bit more contentious, the mediator may split the couple into separate rooms and move back and forth between them to ensure that squabbling does not stall the process.
Is the decision final?
The goal of mediation is to reach a conclusion on all aspects of a divorce. Even if this does happen, there is still a chance for one spouse to change his or her mind, thereby necessitating a return to court. A mediation agreement, unlike an arbitration agreement, is not legally binding. It only becomes binding after a judge signs it.
Mediation allows couples a chance to settle their divorce in a less intense environment. It also keeps most of the decision-making in their hands and provides a smoother, less expensive path to divorce.