Although it is not for everyone, mediation offers clear benefits over traditional court divorce for many couples who wish to terminate their marriage.
When people enter into a marital contract, they usually don’t plan on getting divorced sometime in the future. However, nearly 50 percent of all marriages in American end in divorce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, there are several options for couples who are entering into the divorce process. While some people may be able to settle the details of their separation without any assistance, others may need counseling or help negotiating the terms of their divorce. Mediation offers a non-confrontational way to settle matters of divorce and may be better suited to some Tennessee couples than a traditional court divorce.
According to the American Bar Association, mediation is a process where couples are able to discuss details of their separation, including property division, child visitation and spousal support, and ultimately create their own divorce settlement. A mediator is present during the sessions to ensure all topics are covered and to answer any questions the couple may have. After the settlement is created, it is signed by both parties and submitted to the court for finalization.
When going into mediation, couples agree to make decisions based on the good of everyone involved. Couples who are unable to rationally discuss divorce topics should not enter into the mediation process. Attorneys are not required to attend the mediation session; however, many couples choose to bring their lawyers, as they are able to give personal legal guidance throughout the session, according to Tennessee Courts.
Advantages of mediation
Mediation offers some clear advantages over traditional court divorce for many couples. The ABA and Tennessee Courts list the following benefits:
- A settlement can be created without the help of the legal system.
- Couples are able to customize their divorce settlement. Without legal confinements, couples are able to create the terms of their decree specific to their unique situation.
- The divorce is finalized quicker. Many people are able to create a settlement in as little as one or two mediation sessions, while a court divorce can take months or years to finalize. Couples are able to plan their mediation dates around their personal schedules, rather than have to wait for a set court date.
- Divorce is less expensive through mediation. There are no court costs and no lengthy disputes.
Couples who must continue their relationship after the divorce is finalized, including parents or business partners, may find that mediation results in less hostility and may be better for the relationship overall.
The importance of an attorney
People who are going through a divorce and are considering the mediation process as an alternative to court litigation should contact an established family attorney. It is important to have personal representation during a time when your judgment may be clouded by emotion. A lawyer can help you make clear decisions regarding your settlement and walk you through the divorce process.