What is divorce mediation and how does it work? Learn more from our legal expert.
Today we are going to get expert advice from our legal expert, Amanda J. Shuman, Esq., DangerLaw, LLC around exactly what is divorce mediation, how does it work and is it an option for you.
Let’s hear what Amanda has to say.
I’m often asked if there is a way that my client and their spouse can sit down with someone to help them figure out the details of their divorce. They don’t necessarily know where to start – they know they don’t want to go to court and litigate, they are concerned that having their respective lawyers resolve things will be unnecessarily full of conflict, and they don’t think they work out the details between themselves without fighting. When asked this question, divorce mediation is often my suggestion.
Mediation, which is an out-of-court method of resolving legal issues such as divorce, is facilitated by a neutral professional whose role in the process is to help spouses (or unmarried parents who are separating) have a conversation with the hopes of reaching an agreement.
When given that answer, clients then often ask how it works, do they have to agree, and what happens if things fall apart? Are lawyers still necessary? Here’s what I want my clients to know about mediation:
Mediation is non-binding. That means, you don’t have the reach an agreement at the end of your session(s). Many, if not most, couples who enter into mediation do reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce, but you can always explore another means of resolving your case if mediation doesn’t work for you.
Mediation is voluntary. If one party decides they no longer want to participate, the other can’t force them. But, more often than not, the desire not to go to court and litigate motivates both parties to continue with the process. It can be, but isn’t always, less expensive. If both spouses have lawyers, then a mediator is a third professional that needs to be paid for. However, if the mediation process works, it often cuts time (and therefore legal fees) from a couple’s divorce.
You’re welcome to have a lawyer! I often work with folks who are going through mediation. My role with those clients is to answer questions, help them understand what they are being asked to decide in mediation, walk them through their post-divorce finances, help them make decisions if they need a sounding board, review and offer proposed language for their separation agreement, and even attending their divorce hearing if they don’t want to go alone.
Divorce mediation is a great option if you and your spouse need help having a conversation to work out details. It is a process that lets you go at your own pace, and to make decisions that work for you and your family as opposed to having a judge decide.
If you have any more detailed questions about what is divorce mediation and if it is right for your situation, contact Amanda Shuman today and learn more about how she can help!