What to Expect in Divorce Mediation

what to expect in divorce mediation

What to Expect in Divorce Mediation

Mediation in the Divorce Process

Almost every divorce client wants to know if he/she can utilize mediation in the divorce process. And the answer is yes! In fact, in Alabama, most courts will require a divorcing couple to attempt mediation prior to setting the case for a final trial. But what exactly is mediation?

Mediation is a process that involves both parties, their respective attorneys and a divorce mediator (usually a divorce lawyer or former divorce judge who has been specially certified in the divorce mediation process). The mediator is a neutral party whose only job is to review the facts in the case, meet with both sides and his/her attorney, and present an offer that is acceptable to both parties in order to finalize the divorce by agreement and prior to trial. A mediator cannot be called as a witness at trial (if the case fails to settle in mediation), and he/she usually shreds all notes at the termination of the mediation.

Most parties favor mediation over litigation for two major reasons: (1) privacy and (2) cost. Divorce trials are public hearings and are most often time-consuming and costly. Mediation, on the other hand, is private, more affordable and can usually be done within a day. Divorce mediation puts collaboration and problem-solving front and center, as opposed to the adversarial nature of divorce trials. This means that the terms of the parties’ final divorce is much more personalized and workable.

The Mediation Process

During the mediation process, parties are allowed the opportunity to privately express their concerns, issues and needs, and discuss the same in a conversational way with the mediator. These discussions assists the mediator in drafting an agreement that fits the unique needs of the parties and their case. By collaborating to reach a final divorce agreement, parties usually leave the process much more satisfied. By contrast, divorce litigation is contentious, leaves all decision-making up to the judge, and usually results in a final result that does not take into account all the nuances of the parties’ situation. Most importantly, divorce mediation usually results in a long-lasting agreement and works to support parties for a better post-divorce relationship. This is especially important when children are involved in the divorce.

Lastly, mediation is much more cost-effective than the litigation process. In most mediations, the parties equally split the final cost of the mediator. Mediator costs vary, but a good mediator can usually be hired for less than $400 per hour. Depending on the issues involved in your case, parties can save thousands of dollars by resolving their divorce through mediation rather than litigation.

Find Out What to Expect in Divorce Mediation

If you are interested in speaking to an attorney in our firm about a mediation process, please give us a call today.

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