What is Divorce Mediation?
If you’re planning your divorce, considering divorce mediation can make a huge difference to the process. It’s a stressful and emotional situation for everyone involved, but divorce mediation can genuinely make things easier.
In simple terms, divorce mediation is about getting together with your soon-to-be ex-spouse so you can decide, together, how your divorce is going to work. For the sake not only of you but also your children – this is a far better option than going to court.
Divorce mediation involves a neutral third party, someone who can act as a mediator as you both find mutually-beneficial solutions for your issues. The objective is to make your divorce as amicable and as cost-effective as possible.
Usually, divorce mediation will cover issues such as the distribution of property, assets and liabilities, child arrangements (previously called child custody) and a parenting plan. It also covers child support or spousal maintenance, pensions, and even tax implications, among other areas. Now that we know what divorce mediation is, let’s take a look at the benefits and learn more about it:
Divorce Mediation Benefits
There are many benefits to divorce mediation, the first one being there is an independent family mediator present. This professional mediator will help you work out agreements, which sometimes come easily, but sometimes they can take a lot of time, discussion, and ultimately, compromise. When an agreement is hard to reach, mediators will step in to help you brainstorm, communicate clearly, make reality checks, focus on empathy and assist your decision-making process in general. They can give you options on what to do with the property you both lived in or make suggestions on what parenting plans work for other people in similar situations. They can also share legal knowledge and let you know what the courts will and will not take into consideration.
In short, mediators will keep the focus where it should be – on reaching a fair and amicable agreement – so you don’t go off track, which is very easy to do when you’re getting a divorce. Name-calling, arguments, and bad memories can easily resurface during these discussions. Your divorce mediator will help you focus on moving forwards and not looking back.
Divorce mediation is a flexible and confidential process. It allows you and your spouse to settle this conflict together as parents, or simply as adults. Divorce mediation is of paramount importance between couples who have children together because it allows you to discuss the issues that are relevant to your children amicably. It will cover where the children are going to stay and when; what will happen in school holidays; Christmas and other important days of the year. The plan can also cover schooling arrangements, changes of surname, grandparent access, discipline, introduction to new partner and anything else you both feel needs to be in the plan.
Lack of communication is one of the most common reasons people get divorced. If you don’t want that to affect your divorce as well, having a divorce mediator is the best way to communicate during this process. Mediators help couples learn to communicate again, so you can have a healthy post-divorce relationship. Vital where you have to work together to raise your children
Divorce mediators are a great asset simply because they remain neutral. They don’t work for either party, they’re completely independent. That means it’s not their job to advise either of you, it’s their job to remain neutral and provide assistance in formulating ideas and agreements that will benefit everyone involved.
An open and free exchange of information makes a huge difference because it allows both of you to work on the same foundation. Working within a framework such a this helps you reach an agreement in less time.
Mediation is a more collaborative and less adversarial process. It allows the parties involved to have more control over the outcome of their divorce, as they are directly involved in the decision-making process.
Last but not least, divorce mediation is voluntary. This means it can continue as long as you, your spouse, and the mediator decide. The sessions can be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or however often works for you both. But using a progressive mediation service will reduce the amount of session that you need to reach an agreement.
Length of Mediation
How long divorce mediation takes will depend on the issues you’ve agreed to address, both beforehand and during meditation. It will also depend on how much you and your spouse are willing to come to agreements on the things that will be discussed.
You can reduce the length of divorce mediation if you and your spouse can work out agreements before walking into mediation. In the least, you can narrow down your options of possible agreements beforehand to make mediation run smoother
However, if it’s not possible for you to have an amicable discussion about issues and agreements before the divorce mediation, and you tend to argue instead, it may make meditation more difficult. Werecommend you work out what you can agree on and if you cannot agree on an issue – that’s ok. Just leave it for the mediation and move on to something you can agree on.
On average, divorce meditation takes from 2 to 6 sessions. How long it takes you and your spouse will depend on how well you communicate, how willing you are to find a solution and the level of animosity between you both. If you or your spouse are not willing to budge on the resolution of one of the issues, divorce mediation might not be for you. In that case, you may need to litigate in court, but you usually have to consider mediation by way of a MIAM first.
Cost of Divorce Mediation
According to the Family Mediation Council Survey 2019, the national average cost of divorce mediation stands at £1,641 including the mediation paperwork. The minimum cost to a resolution is £500 per person and the maximum spend is £8,000 each. On average, divorce mediation costs £280 per hour. The minimum average per hour stands at £100, while the maximum is £666 per hour. By contrast, the average cost for divorce litigation stands at £20,000 for a financial matter but costs can increase considerably. Also the average length of time to resolve matters through a court is 11.5 months.
It’s important to note that litigated cases often lead to more frustration and discord than actual solutions. It often results in a lose/lose situation and no one walks away from it feeling happy
On the other hand, couples who turn to divorce mediation walk away feeling satisfied with the solutions and agreements reached through this process. It’s aim is a win/win situation for all because the point of divorce mediation is to help everyone reach an agreement they can all move on with. Yes, there will be compromises, but ultimately both parties and the wider family will be happier with the outcome. And it is therefore more likely to be stuck to.
Additionally, divorce mediation is more likely to lead to an agreement that is more flexible in its approach. You don’t want to return to mediation or go to court every time you need to make a minor change to your agreement – you want to be in a position to sort out any future changes between yourselves.
Whether you choose to deal with your divorce through mediation comes down to answering these questions:
- Do you want to decide what happens with your children and assets, or are you happy for someone else to decide?
- Can you trust that a judge will make a better decision than you can, as parents?
- Who understands yours and the child’s needs the most?
Divorce mediation is the easiest way to have an amicable divorce, feel satisfied with agreements and solutions, and keep things amicable. It’s all about working together for the sake of your family, moving on and ultimately have a happier and less stressful life.
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