Couples wishing to dissolve their marriage but wanting to avoid lengthy (and costly) litigation can choose to utilize a mediator instead of traditional divorce litigation (collaborative divorce is another popular option).
The mediator is typically a person with some sort of legal and/or psychological background and acts as a go-between for the two parties. Both parties may choose to still have an attorney present, but the mediator will oversee and direct the negotiation proceedings.
Both parties typically split the cost of the mediator and all property distribution and spousal support issues are addressed during the arbitration. Once the parties have come to a mutual agreement regarding all the various issues, the mediator will then prepare a settlement agreement outlining the terms of your divorce.
Mediation may be a good way to find a fair and happy balance between the divorcing couple, especially when there are considerable assets involved. The mediator’s job is to encourage the couple to “give and take” so that both parties feel they received a relatively fair settlement. This can alleviate the normal stress and tension that often occurs during a divorce and prevents spouses from “getting revenge” by withholding certain property or assets in an attempt to blackmail the other.
Almost all states have some sort of mediation provisions and many even frequently order divorcing couples to utilize mediation services before the divorce can proceed. Mediation can also address child support and visitation issues, reducing the trauma and distress that can occur in custody disputes.
Couples are not required to reach an agreement during mediation and if it appears that the parties have reached a stand-off, traditional litigation may still be pursued.