Divorce is considered a difficult and terrible experience. While no two divorces are the same, there is a stereotyped version of how divorce works. The traditional model of divorce litigation looks something like this: A partner (s) decides to file for divorce. They each hire their own attorneys to represent them in court. Each attorney prepares to win the battle for their client and get them a good settlement. The parties are bitter and want to make sure the other suffers. Each party hires their own experts and consultants to help them get the most out of the divorce. This leads to clashing expert opinions. By the time the judge has ruled the final order, much of the resources that the parties have been fighting for are depleted through the mere cost of the litigation. After a long, tiring legal struggle, parties go their separate ways. They retain their resentment and hatred for their former partner long after the divorce has ended.
Fortunately, there are different approaches to divorce that are available. One of them is Divorce Mediation. It is crucial for ex-spouses who are parents to maintain a cooperative relationship with each other for the sake of their children. Even if there are no children involved, cooperation allows each party to retain their dignity. There is no need to deplete resources. Parties can still hire their respective attorneys, but they do not need to waste money on two separate groups of experts. In mediation, there is a mediator who exists to facilitate communication with the assistance of experts if necessary. They work with the parties until a settlement is reached. This settlement is then signed and given to the judge for approval. When the judge approves the agreement, the process is over. This method avoids the dueling nature of expert opinions found in traditional litigation and promotes cooperation among parties.
An important aspect of mediation is confidentiality. Everything discussed in the mediation is off-limits in the court or anywhere outside of the mediation. In a typical court room trial, everything is public. Intimate and personal experiences and information about peoples’ lives, finances, and experiences are on display for all. The mediator often will destroy notes on a case once it is finished to ensure whatever was spoken in confidence remains in confidence.
A mediator is a neutral, third party facilitator who is hired to assist in communicating each party’s needs and desires for a settlement. Typically, a mediator will separate parties into two different rooms, shuttle between the rooms, and negotiate representing each side until a settlement is reached. The settlement that is signed is received by the court and considered legally binding once the judge approves it. Mediation is usually a long process—one session may take an entire day. Some parties take more than one session to reach a settlement. The process does allow parties to express themselves and be heard.
Attorneys are allowed to accompany parties into the mediation. However, a mediator may request to speak only with the parties. If this is the case, it is up to the parties’ discretion whether or not they are willing to do that.
Some ways parties can prepare for mediation is to know their strengths and weaknesses before the mediation begins, as well as alternatives to the negotiated agreement. Approaching the process with an open mind allows for increased awareness and an ability to acquire the most from the agreement.
Although there is an 80% success rate for mediation, there are occasions where settlements are not reached. Parties can choose to try the process again, or resort to the traditional litigation process. The mediation process revolves around the ideas of empowering parties and increasing cooperation, value, and respect. It is not a mediator’s role to tell parties what they must do; it is to assist parties in figuring out what they want to do.
There are a number of reasons mediation is growing in popularity. The process is empowering when compared with traditional trials. It gives parties a voice. Typically, when divorces go to litigation, it is like entering onto a battlefield. Whatever the judge eventually rules after hearing the cases is final. In mediation, parties have the chance to voice their stance, and modify it to meet the other party on some type of agreement. Parties may not get everything they want; however, they have a higher chance getting a number of things they asked for with a mediated settlement than with a judge.
Mediation is also less costly than traditional litigation. There are real costs associated with the process, but nowhere near what one may pay if they are fighting a battle in court. A couple may only need to go to mediation for one session to settle an agreement. After that, there are no more costs for the mediator; unlike an attorney, whose presence is needed throughout the process to win a case. If the case is lost, the losing party may hire another divorce attorney and appeal for another trial—which is very expensive.
Mediation has a number of benefits. It minimizes hostility. It encourages and facilitates respect and communication. It acknowledges the emotional roller coaster parties are going through, but directs emotional responses into reasoning. It gives parties the chance to maintain their dignity and humanity instead of attacking each other. It also focuses on the future. Mediators assist parties into thinking about the long-term, which is difficult for many who are caught up in the fog of the divorce experience. Divorce does not need to be a tragic experience. Mediation allows the divorce process to be a constructive approach to separation.
In order to gage whether the mediation process is right for you, consider the following. In order to benefit from mediation, parties must be willing and able to make important decisions. They may be placed in situations where they must be patient and respectful with their former partner. In many cases, acceptance is required to overcome smaller obstacles and focus on bigger ones.
Look inside yourself and think about how you want this experience to be. No matter what your friends or family members may have experienced during their divorce experience, it does not mean you need to follow their course. To assess whether you would want to take an alternative route to your divorce, you must think about yourself and what you truly want when the divorce is over.
In many cases, couples who are divorcing cannot stand to say a word to each other. This does not mean they are not capable of participating in the mediation process. A good mediator knows how to manage emotions and frame questions that will shift your thinking to the bigger picture. You do not have to get along to agree on a settlement. However, you may have to cooperate and be willing to embrace an environment fostering respect. People have different personalities and perspectives all around the world; you do not need to be in love with someone or even like them to treat them cordially or work with them short-term for a long-term benefit.
You do not need to be in the midst of a divorce to try mediation. Consider undergoing the process before you file for divorce. It may help the process run more smoothly. Mediation is a voluntary, cooperative, and confidential process. You have the choice to bring your attorneys. You have the choice to be directly involved in your future. Most importantly, if the process is not working for you, you have the choice to stop the process and find another approach to your divorce.
At the end of the day, mediation is less costly, gives people more control, and helps them with prepare for court. It is also less stressful, easier, flexible, confidential, and revolves around positivity. Couples are not bound to spending thousands of dollars in their divorces; they have the choice to try an alternative approach; a cooperative approach; the mediation approach.
Our family law attorneys have represented clients with mediation for their divorce. Our attorneys have achieved results by mediation for their disputes regarding marital property, marital debt, child support, visitation rights, or child custody. Often, when our clients were unable to come up with a resolution for their marital disputes, the divorce mediation by our Dallas family law attorneys helped them get these issues resolved. We are here to help spouses with mediation for their divorce in different counties of DFW area, including Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, Denton, and Rockwall.
Our family law attorneys are here to help you with your divorce mediation by a FREE CONSULTATION appointment to discuss the details of your divorce case and the involved disputes. A FREE CONSULTATION can be setup by calling 972.789.1664, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or filling out the form on top of this page.
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