Divorce Using Mediation
Divorce settlements can quickly turn messy, even if neither spouse intended for it to happen that way. This is why mediation is such a valuable tool for both parties involved and should be seriously considered as a potential means for resolving any and all disputes arises from your divorce. In the state of North Carolina, mediation is highly recommended, and often required in order to move forward with divorce proceedings.
Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third party, the mediator, sits down in a private setting with the spouses and attempts to guides a calm, professional meeting where both parties are allowed to express what is important to them and their desires for how the various elements of the divorce—like the division of assets and custody/visitation of children—should be resolved. It helps reduce hard bargaining and truly seeks to fulfill the best interests of all parties involved. There are numerous benefits of utilizing mediation to resolve your divorce, particularly when compared to litigation as the alternative. We have outlined five of these key benefits below:
1) Easier for your children: Divorce is already exceedingly hard on children, but it is even more difficult when they see their parents fighting and tearing one another down. Mediation is a solution to ensure that you and your spouse are able to resolve your disputes without allowing a war to break out in your family. It protects your children from having to see their parents fight, and it dissolves conflict in a more positive, professional, and timely manner—and usually without any involvement by your children. In court, on the other hand, your kids may be forced to become much more deeply and damagingly involved in the process.
2) You are in control: Mediation allows for you to be able to control the topics of conversation as well as the final outcome. This ensures that your interests are protected and decided by you, rather than leaving it up to a judge or jury who does not really understand your unique circumstances.
3) Privacy: Generally speaking, court hearings are public record, which means the details of your divorce could be found by just about anyone who wanted to look. Mediation allows for you and your spouse to sit down privately with your lawyers and a mediator present in order to privately, and as calmly as possible, discuss your desired outcome. Confidentiality is an essential component in any mediation proceedings.
4) Cost-effective: When divorce proceedings are taken to a courtroom, it usually requires numerous hearings and appearances, meetings with lawyers, meetings with other relevant professionals, and the list goes on. This can quickly become extremely costly, especially because court dockets tend to be very crowded, and scheduling can sometimes be a nightmare. Mediation is less formal and does not require you to fit hearings into the crowded court schedule. This means you will pay less in things like court fees, but also less overall by speeding up the process (less attorney fees, etc).
5) Focus on mutually beneficial resolution: Mediation, thanks to the guidance of the trained mediator, attempts to help you and your spouse achieve resolutions that will be mutually beneficial. Without mediation, the court is given the obligation of deciding how best to resolve your disputes, which could mean that your spouse’s needs are met while yours are not, or vise versa. It is also less adversarial process than litigation, which forces spouses to fight only for their own needs. By considering the wishes of your spouse and working to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome, you are more likely to exit divorce proceedings with less animosity, allowing for more effective co-parenting and allowing you to heal more quickly from the dissolution.
Mediation can be incredibly beneficial for many divorcing couples, but it is not perfect for every situation. It is essential that you consult with a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can advise you on the best course of action.
If you or a loved one is going through a Greensboro divorce or child custody battle, contact Meghan O’Keeffe at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth, & Olson (336) 379-0539