Divorce negotiations challenge most couples. Few people enjoy arguing over property division, alimony or child support. When adjudicated by a judge, these disagreements rarely end with both parties happy, and could actually foster feelings of resentment or anger.
Many divorcing couples avoid these conflicts by taking the negotiations out of the courtroom and using mediation. This alternative dispute resolution grants a couple complete control over their divorce, their agreement and their future.
5 benefits of divorce mediation
Mediation will not work for every couple. Spouses seeking a divorce to leave an abusive marriage should stick to traditional litigation to help them stay safe during a volatile time. Mediation works best when both spouses want to write a peaceful and collaborative end to their marriage. Couples allowed to use mediation for their divorce can enjoy both immediate and long-term benefits:
- Couples choose the mediator: With courtroom litigation, a couple must work with whatever judge the court assigns. With mediation, couples can hire a mediator from a catalog of professionals. Mediators do not rule over negotiations like a judge but help spouses negotiate using empathy, collaboration and compromise.
- Mediation sessions are confidential: A stenographer records court proceedings into the public record. In future disputes, opposition lawyers might use records of emotional outbursts or arguments as evidence. Only the signed agreement stands as record with mediation, allowing things said in the heat of the moment to stay there.
- Couples set their own schedule: Couples using mediation do not have to wait for an opening in a courtroom schedule to begin working on their divorce. Mediation can begin immediately and at almost any neutral location that works for the couple.
- Mediation is more affordable: Some couples spend upwards of $10,000 per person on their divorce. Without the courthouse or the court personnel, the couple can save their money. Many lawyers charge mediation clients lower rates, and many courts cover a mediator’s fee.
- Long-lasting results: Most couples who use mediation report a greater feeling of satisfaction than those who stuck with litigation. Mediation focuses on collaboration, communication and teamwork, generating an agreement that serves both spouses. Mediation does not establish fault or administer punishments but helps teach couples how to work together to solve their disputes with a minimum of conflict.
Considering divorce? An attorney can provide answers
Curious spouses can bring their mediation questions to a local lawyer familiar with Maryland divorce laws. A lawyer can recommend professional mediators and draft a comprehensive divorce agreement.