For 20 years now, a trend has overtaken how people negotiate their divorce. Turning away from traditional courtroom litigation, couples find control and balance by using mediation. This collaborative process helps couples design their divorce agreement without a judge’s oversight, yielding many benefits.
Mediation will not work for every couple. Spouses in abusive relationships should stick to traditional litigation for its added safety and binding agreements. However, couples who can work together and share a motivation for compromise will get the most out of mediation.
Mediation enables an easier divorce
Once a judge approves a couple’s use of mediation, the benefits begin almost immediately. Couples who choose mediation can:
- Choose their own mediator: Mediators are not like judges. A mediator will not issue a ruling or assign fault. A mediator serves as a neutral party who helps keep negotiations on track and motivated toward resolution. Mediators encourage a couple to listen, empathize and draft a resolution that satisfies everyone.
- Save money: Courtroom divorces can cost up to $15,000 per person. With mediation, couples avoid a courtroom and its fees, lawyers often charge lower rates, and many courts cover mediation services.
- Set their schedule: Couples can schedule their mediation sessions whenever and wherever they want. In a courtroom, couples may wait weeks or months to begin; mediation can start immediately.
- Speak freely: Mediated negotiations are confidential, so couples can freely work through their emotions without fear of reprisal. In a courtroom, a stenographer records all discussions into the public record. A lawyer may use these items in future disputes.
- Find greater satisfaction: According to research, couples experienced nearly 70% satisfaction with a mediated divorce. With standard litigation, only 47% of couples felt satisfied. A judge may rule a disappointing agreement, but mediation helps a couple produce an agreement that addresses the needs of both parties.
Legal counsel can help
Those considering divorce can bring their questions to a local attorney who understands Ohio’s divorce laws. An attorney can help spouses decide if mediation will work for them and even recommend professional mediators.