Loretta is a lawyer, specialising in various branches of law and loves to write on pressing legal issues around the world.
What is Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation is a voluntary ADR settlement process usually used by couples seeking to divorce or separate. The nature of divorce is contentious, so divorce mediation helps to reduce the contentious nature of the process and the parties by driving negotiations and settlements towards more mutually beneficial agreements about their future and separation
Helping the parties to reach this agreement is trained and neutral divorce mediators, who assess and drive the process to ensure that agreements are customized towards the specific needs of the couple, putting into consideration factors such as family, finances, and the future.
I had an enlightening discussion about divorce mediation with an expert divorce mediator and we discussed extensively about divorce mediation and the process it drives.
According to him, "the courts always seek to repair rather than destroy, however, the nature of divorce is separating the family unit, so the least harm is sought in such cases". A public and drawn-out litigation process can have a long-lasting negative effect on the family, so mediation helps to mitigate this effect. He stated that judges would often order divorcing couples to participate in divorce mediation, with the litigious trial being the last resort for family law cases. However, couples have the option of choosing the option of mediating on their own.
In divorce mediation, the couple meets with a trained, neutral mediator to discuss, resolve and work towards finalizing issues in the divorce such as property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, etc. The mediators don’t make the decision, they only steer the conversations and facilitate the couples toward figuring out the best options for their specific situation. When the couple finally reaches an agreement through divorce mediation, the mediator then drafts and where concluded, files the agreement with the court as the couples’ divorce settlement agreement.
According to Umoh, here are some of the benefits of Divorce Mediation and the (good) reason why couples would be better served going the divorce mediation route rather than a litigated and contested divorce trial;
- It is more beneficial for the family moving forward if issues are discussed and agreed with compromises from both sides rather than a litigated scenario that usually ends with a winner and loser.
- It is less expensive, hence, more affordable than a drawn out litigation process.
- It takes less time as the divorce mediation process involves issue-based discussions that drive mutual agreement.
- It Improves the ability of the separating couple to communicate because to reach an agreement, they both have to discuss and communicate their needs, concerns, and agreements. The divorce mediator also steers the parties towards better communication and understanding which would help lead to a reasonable agreement.
- It encourages cooperation. The nature of ADR is cooperative and mutual, so divorce mediation seeks to drive that process even more.
- The parties have control over the ADR proceeding because the decision that is reached is usually based on the couples’ individual ideas of a fair resolution and mutual agreements, concessions and compromises. This negates the rigid and impersonal option that would be obtainable in a trial where legal principles would be applied instead.
- It allows for a better decision-making process, especially where children are involved.
- Confidentiality. Mediation is confidential, privacy can at least reduce the pressure and negative effects of divorce proceedings on the couples.
Divorce is quite hard on all parties involved, directly and indirectly; the couple, the children, and even extended family, and friends are affected. However, successful divorce mediation can help reduce the negative aspects and make the rest of the divorce process easier for all involved. The divorce mediation proceeding forces you to tackle all the difficult topics head-on and hammer out the details of what would be obtainable going forward. Now you can file an uncontested divorce and save yourself, the time, money, and energy that you would otherwise expend toward an otherwise contentious divorce.
So, the most important benefit of divorce mediation is that in the end, you have an uncontested divorce, saving yourself the cost of going to a trial and the divorce can be granted faster as the judge would finalize your divorce faster where all the issues have been hammered out already.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2022 Loretta Osakwe Awosika