By Divorce.com staff
Updated Sep 20, 2022
Many couples find mediation the most efficient and peaceful way to approach a divorce. Mediation allows teams to communicate effectively at work at their own pace to complete their divorce and move on with their futures.
Mediation is often much faster than going through the court system for a divorce. If things go as smoothly as possible, you might only be a few months away from a finalized divorce.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is an alternative to a litigated divorce. Rather than going to court, couples work with a mediator to discuss their concerns and agree on how they want their divorce to go. You’re able to divide property in the way you see fit. You can even discuss child custody and child support arrangements in mediation.
Mediation is the most empowering method of divorce. Mediation can save time, money, and stress if you and your partner can communicate effectively.
Improving communication during and after divorce will make life much easier for your children while eliminating some potential trauma they may face from a messy, litigated divorce. You’ll avoid introducing family court into your lives, and you can both walk away feeling good about handling your divorce on your terms.
How Long Does Mediation Usually Take?
There is no specific timeframe for divorce mediation. It depends on the availability of both partners, the depth of discussions, and the amount of polite negotiation necessary to satisfy both parties. In many cases, divorce mediation can take as little as three months.
Couples can set their schedule for meetings with their mediator. You can meet virtually from separate locations, which makes it easier to fit a mediation session into a busy schedule. If you keep your sessions organized, you may be able to move through meaningful discussions quickly.
What Delays Mediation?
Although mediation is the perfect divorce medium for many couples, it won’t work for everyone. Mediation can take a long time if one partner refuses to comply or if you can’t reach an agreement on an important issue.
If you still can’t see eye to eye after a few mediation sessions, you may need to transform your mediated divorce into a litigated or contested divorce. This begins the process of divorce court, and you’ll need to work with family law attorneys to complete your divorce.
Which Is Faster, Mediation or Divorce Court?
Mediation is almost always faster than divorce court. Courts move slowly, and there are a lot of formalities. You don’t have a say over the schedule of your court dates, and everything will move in inches. Even if you and your partner agree on specific issues, it can be difficult to establish these agreements in divorce court.
What Happens After My Divorce Mediation?
Mediation allows couples to bypass most of the court process for a divorce, but your divorce still needs to be recognized by the court. When mediation has reached a conclusion that satisfies both parties, you’ll create the final documents and submit them to the court.
Writing the Settlement Agreement
The mediator who sits in on your sessions will help to create a settlement agreement. This settlement agreement is the terms of your divorce that you’ve both agreed to.
Unlike divorce court, where the judge has the final say in the outcome, the mediator can’t enforce anything. They can give you suggestions, but you’re free to choose what you’d like to include in your settlement agreement.
Your settlement agreement will function as your legally binding divorce contract. Both parties are expected to adhere to the terms of the settlement agreement. This is usually easier than a court divorce because both parties worked to create the terms.
Court Filing and Approval
When your agreement has been completed and signed, it’s filed with the court. The court will review and approve the settlement agreement if everything appears above board. If the judge reviewing your settlement has questions, the court may need more information before they proceed with the divorce decree.
Waiting for the Court Order or Court Hearing
Court hearings after a divorce mediation are rare. The judge will only require a hearing if the agreement seems unfair. Hearings will allow the judge to hear both sides of the story.
It’s the judge’s role to decide if both parties were treated fairly during mediation and to ascertain that they both fully agree to every part of the agreement.
When you’re writing your settlement agreement, it’s essential to keep this in mind. You’ll ultimately wind up in divorce court if the deal feels one-sided. Be mindful about keeping things balanced if you want to avoid a hearing.
If the judge is satisfied with the settlement and no significant changes need to be made after a court hearing, you’ll be issued a divorce decree. Both parties must sign the divorce decree and submit it to the judge.
When Is My Divorce Final?
After you’ve completed and signed your divorce decree, you need to file it with the court. At the same time, you’ll fill out a document called a Notice of Entry of Order. This document needs to be served to the other party.
If your divorce was amicable, you could serve the other party yourself. They’ll be expecting the document. If you prefer not to see each other, you can hire a process server to do it for you.
Once this happens, your divorce is final.
Divorce mediation is the least stressful method of a divorce. Your divorce will be finalized sooner through successful mediation than through the court system. When possible, couples should attempt mediation first. Divorce.com is here for you when you’re ready to start the process.
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