When using litigation to design a divorce agreement, spouses lose a lot of control. Lawyers may attempt to establish fault in the divorce, and judges may issue rulings that feel punitive or inappropriate. This lack of control can cause people to feel anxiety, fear and even hostility.
Over the past 20 years, couples have turned to mediation to draft their divorce agreements. Mediation allows a couple to exert more control over their own lives, designing their divorce agreements on their terms. Mediation offers a couple several other benefits as well, making it more popular today than ever.
Couples benefit from mediation in several ways
The key ingredient to successful mediation is cooperation. Couples who can interact with each other without conflict will have much more success using mediation if they focus on compromise, collaboration and a mutually beneficial resolution.
Couples invested in maintaining a peaceful relationship after the divorce can get the most from mediation:
- Choice of mediator: Mediation begins with couples choosing their mediator. Any neutral party can serve, but professional mediators will leverage their training to help a couple draft their agreements. Mediators do not hold authority over the agreement but help spouses stay on track toward compromise and mutual benefit.
- Total privacy: Sessions with a mediator are private affairs, unlike a court case where a stenographer records everything. Spouses can speak their mind with mediation without fear of legal reprisal. This confidentiality works great for parents who do not have to worry that a lawyer may rehash old arguments in a future dispute.
- More convenience: Traditional litigation requires that couples use a courtroom, so proceedings are subject to a court’s busy schedule. These packed calendars can delay divorce negotiations for months. Mediation enables a couple to begin negotiations immediately and in any neutral location.
- Lower cost: Without the need of a courtroom or its personnel, a couple using mediation will pay much less for their divorce. Most attorneys charge lower rates for mediation, and many local courts will reimburse a couple for the mediator’s cost.
- Improved results: Mediation produces results that couples find more satisfying than those derived through traditional litigation. Since mediated agreements focus on compromise and cooperation, spouses are happier with their terms.
Curious about mediation? A lawyer can help
Couples who believe mediation will work for them can contact a local attorney familiar with Arizona family law. A lawyer will assess a couple’s suitability for mediation, recommend professionals and draft divorce agreements that prioritize compromise.