By Divorce.com staff
Updated Oct 04, 2022
Many divorcing couples opt for mediation over traditional divorce because the mediation process is often faster and the cost of mediation is significantly lower than using a divorce lawyer to reach your divorce settlement.
It’s a form of collaborative divorce. Mediation can be a great method in certain cases, but it isn’t for everyone. Certain situations are better served by each party hiring their own divorce attorney and going to court.
If you want to know if mediation is the best option for you, you should do plenty of research and consider your specific needs. You’ll need to determine if you and your spouse get along well and consider potential issues like child support or child custody.
What Is Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution that some divorcing couples use to expedite their divorce process and reach a settlement agreement faster. There will be a neutral third party to act as a mediator for both parties; they are not for or against either side. So the couple is truly working out their issues on their own with no outside influence or control.
Mediation allows for an even playing field since neither party has a lawyer or attorney and they are simply working out their issues together with a neutral mediator acting as the facilitator. This method of resolving disputes is typically less stressful for everyone involved, especially if a couple has young children. A lengthy litigation process can take a huge toll on a family, and many things can be settled outside of court.
Who Can Use Mediation?
Divorcing couples who can sit down and come to an agreement on issues like alimony (spousal support), child custody, and other relevant disputes are more likely to have a successful mediation. If you and your spouse don’t get along well, and still can’t see eye-to-eye with a mediator, you might need to seek out an attorney for legal advice.
Will We Have To Appear in Court With Mediation?
The mediation process can be handled entirely outside of court, so there won’t be any need to visit family court. You and your spouse will meet with a mediator in a neutral location that works best for both of you and discuss your issues until you reach a settlement agreement.
If for any reason you’re not able to reach an agreement after multiple mediation sessions, or one of you decides to sue, you’ll need to consult an attorney and take your divorce case to court. Your mediator won’t be able to help you any further.
What Are the Advantages of Mediation?
Mediation comes with quite a few advantages for divorcing couples who are a good fit for the process. If you opt for this method of dispute resolution, you’ll likely save time and money.
Mediation Is Usually Less Expensive Than a Divorce Trial
With mediation, divorcing couples can save a lot of money. Reaching a settlement agreement outside of court is often more cost-effective because there are no attorney fees to pay, and there is no lengthy court process.
Mediation Is Usually Faster Than a Divorce Trial
Mediation is also typically a quicker process since there is no need to wait several weeks or months for a court date. In some states, a couple is required to wait up to 60 days or more for their divorce case to be heard in court. A couple can meet with their mediator on a much more flexible basis.
Couples who don’t have any children will also save time with this process since there is no need to discuss child custody or develop a parenting plan. The less there is on the table to discuss and potentially disagree on, the better.
Mediation Is Usually More Flexible Than a Divorce Trial
With mediation, couples can meet at times that work best for them. The negotiations are quite flexible as well. When a divorce case is handled in court, a couple has to accept the ruling they’re given, even if they don’t agree with it.
Mediation can go on as long as it takes for both parties to reach an agreement. There is no judge to issue a final ruling, and the mediator can’t make any final determinations. This means divorcing couples can handle their personal issues at a pace that works best for them.
What Are the Disadvantages of Mediation?
There are a couple of downsides to mediation as well; this divorce method is not ideal for every situation. Some couples would be better served with a different method, especially if domestic violence is involved.
Not a Good Fit for Domestic Violence Cases
In situations where there is violence, it isn’t ideal to have the couple sit in a room together in an attempt to work out their issues. This would likely lead to more conflict, and could result in someone getting hurt.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, and seeking a divorce, you’ll want to consult a divorce attorney for guidance on the steps you should take. The top priority should be your safety, and mediation could put that at risk.
Not a Good Fit for Acrimonious Relationships
In relationships where a couple doesn’t get along, mediation isn’t a good idea. Mediation works best when both parties are amicable and able to be in the same room peacefully. If your relationship is very tense, and you and your spouse are fighting constantly, mediation won’t be a good fit for you.
Instead, you’ll each need to consult your own divorce attorney so they can advise you on next steps. Mediation works best when a couple doesn’t have significant conflict or tension between them; the goal is to work things out efficiently so both parties can move on faster.
Is Mediation Right for My Situation?
It depends. If you and your spouse can come together during the decision-making process and work out issues like property division or alimony without any disputes, mediation could be a good fit for you. However, if there is a lot of tension, or domestic violence is involved, you should consult an attorney.
On-Demand Mediation Services with Divorce.com
We offer mediation services to help you and your spouse meet in the middle. Traditional divorces are stressful and expensive; there’s no need to go through the court system if you don’t have to.
Our prices start as low as $49, and our skilled team will be right by your side the entire way. The majority of couples agree on many things during the divorce process, we’re here to help you navigate the issues you don’t agree on and find a compromise.
The Bottom Line
We’ve helped 800,000 customers (and counting) find closure and move on with their lives. From access to on-demand mediation, to the ability to connect with independent counsel if you and your spouse can’t agree, we’ll make sure you have everything you need.
The way a traditional divorce case is handled is often unnecessarily complex, so we’ve made it easier. In fact, it only takes a few simple steps. Reach out to learn more about what we could do for you.