Mediation is possibly the most economical way to get divorced. It is a process that works well for couples who are able to work through divorce issues without animosity and with guidance from the mediator.
The Most Cost-Effective Divorce Process
In a Mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a neutral mediator who will guide you through the conversations that are necessary for you to reach your own divorce agreement. The mediator is generally a family law attorney who will provide general information about the law, but does not give you legal individual advice. The mediator is a facilitator whose role is to help you explore options, their pros and cons, and to help you both determine what is best for you and your children.
There are typically fewer professionals involved in a Mediation process. Often, there is simply the attorney mediator and one other professional. That other professional can be a financial co-mediator who will help with gathering financial information and exploring division of assets and child and spousal support issues. Or, if there are custody and timeshare concerns, a mental health professional may be brought in to co-mediate.
It is rare to have all three professionals together during the same mediation meeting. Often the mental health co-mediator will work only with you and your spouse. It is more common that the financial and legal professionals co-mediate. This is because the finances are interconnected with so many other aspects of the divorce process.
Factors to Consider Before Deciding on Mediation
Mediation is not for every couple. Some factors to consider include:
- Can you be in the same room/space with your spouse without emotionally shutting down?
- Are you able, with the assistance of the mediator, to speak up for yourself and to be your own advocate?
- Are you able to make independent decisions in real-time?
- Are you able to say when you need more information before making a decision?
- Do you and your spouse have some level of trust in each other so that you both believe the other spouse is being honest in the Mediation meetings?
If one spouse feels insecure when in the presence of other, or is hesitant to speak up for themselves and make decisions that are in their best interest, the Collaborative Divorce process may be a better fit. In a Collaborative Divorce, you have your own attorney with you to provide you with support during the process. You can take a break to consult with your attorney whenever necessary since your attorney is in the meeting with you.
You may also be able to talk to the financial professional, or the divorce coach/mental health professional all in real time, which helps in making decisions.
For assistance with Mediation or Collaborative Divorce and how those processes work to help you to divorce without animosity, contact the team at Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law.