FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-18
Using mediation in divorce and family law disputes can result in settlements that stand the test of time. Studies show that mediated agreements result in the least number of reappearances in court. In divorce mediation, the divorcing couple uses a neutral third party to negotiate between themselves on issues such as property division, child custody and alimony.
Mediation is not for everyone, however. Some situations demand zealous representation by a Massachusetts divorce lawyer because of the emotionally charged nature of divorce cases. Yet not all divorcing couples need or want an adversarial confrontation to settle their differences. Nor can some couples endure such a process financially or emotionally. Mediation is generally the least costly means of obtaining a divorce where contested issues exist.
Couples experiencing the trauma of divorce suffer enough over the loss of their significant other, not to mention the unavoidable feelings of failure and the frustration of just not getting through to their former lover, friend and soul mate. They need a safe, accepting environment to discuss their issues and express their wants and needs, not the sometimes bizarre atmosphere of an overcrowded public courthouse where their case may be delayed by months. In addition, since in court a judge will ultimately set out the terms of marital property division, one party to the divorce may not agree with the terms.
The following list of questions may help a divorcing couple decide if mediation is right for them:
- Do you want a say in the control of your financial future?
- Are you willing and able to spend the money that comes with a court-ordered divorce settlement?
- Can you work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse?
- Do you feel intimidated by negotiations?
Some people, after going through the traditional divorce in court, have reported the process feeling a bit like a crapshoot, without much control on the part of the couple. Mediation allows the divorcing couple the freedom to negotiate with the person they have known intimately for years — not a settlement determined by a complete stranger.
The issues brought up in divorce are personal, complex and emotional. It’s your life!
In mediation, it’s up to you!