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How does divorce mediation work?

Many people wish to avoid the public, adversarial nature of going to court for their divorce. At the same time, they are not able to negotiate important issues like division of property, child support and alimony in a conference room with their spouses and their respective attorneys.

In between the courthouse and the negotiating table are alternative dispute resolution options like mediation. Most people have likely heard of mediation, but readers may not have realized that mediation can be used in a divorce case, just as in business disputes and other legal conflicts.

Mediation involves an impartial third party who does not represent or advocate for either spouse. Instead, the mediator’s job is to facilitate negotiations. He or she keeps the lines of communication open, helps each party understand the situation, keeps the discussion on track and encourages the spouses to seek creative resolutions.

Mediation is especially useful when the spouses have children together, and thus will need to preserve some sort of co-parenting relationship after the divorce is complete. Many ex-spouses find that mediation is less confrontational, and working together can keep them from totally destroying what was once a loving relationship.

However, mediation is not for every couple. For it to work, both sides must be able to state their views. This is unlikely in cases where one spouse was abusive or is totally unwilling to compromise.

If you are going through divorce, and are intrigued by mediation, you should talk it over with your divorce attorney, who can explain the process in greater detail.

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