For about 20 years, people have been turning away from the courtroom to negotiate their divorce. A litigated divorce can challenge couples who wish for an amicable separation. Judges tend to issue rulings and even find fault in a divorce, leaving couples with unhappy resolutions that they may resent. It is no surprise that more people have turned toward mediation.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that focuses on compromise, understanding and empathy. Couples who use mediation for their divorce will draft their agreements together, listen to each other’s concerns and wishes to find the most appropriate and satisfying compromise. Mediation can provide an enthusiastic couple benefits that last years.
Mediation provides lasting benefits
Those who approach mediation motivated toward compromise can enjoy several benefits:
- Choose their mediator: Couples choose their mediator. Professional mediators do not rule over the negotiations but ask couples to listen and empathize. Mediators position the divorce agreement as a team-based project that can satisfy each party.
- Confidential negotiations: All discussions in a mediation session remain confidential. Civil case transcripts become public record, allowing people access to insulting or embarrassing things arguing people may say to each other. Mediation keeps its focus on the agreement and a path forward.
- Lower cost: Couples who use mediation do not have to pay court fees. If a spouse wishes to hire a lawyer, they generally charge lower rates. Some states offer to cover the cost of a mediator as well.
- Increased convenience: Mediated negotiations do not depend on a court calendar, so discussions can begin immediately. With litigation, the couple may wait weeks or months before getting in front of a judge. Mediation allows a resolution to occur much faster.
- Greater satisfaction with results: People who use mediation report greater satisfaction with their agreement and the process. Even those who ended up in court were more satisfied with mediation.
Bring questions about mediation to a lawyer
Spouses considering mediation can find answers with a local attorney familiar with Massachusetts divorce law. A lawyer can help determine if mediation is right for an individual’s situation and help draft comprehensive agreements that focus on compromise.