How can mediation assist me in my divorce?

Mediation may be an effective way to end a marriage. This method may teach each spouse valuable communication and conflict-reducing skills.

Most Connecticut spouses who are divorcing will go through a mediation process before their dispute goes to court, if at all. It may be assumed that the only way to get a fair deal in a divorce is to take it before a judge. However, there are many benefits to approaching a divorce amicably. This is why mediation is often recommended as a way of resolving disputes without resorting to a lengthy and often costly court battle.

According to U.S. News and World Report, many of those with marital problems are seeking uncontested divorces today because of their potential to cost a fraction of what a litigated divorce would cost, as well as their effectiveness in conflict reduction. This can be particularly important when it comes to children. When parents resolve their disputes through mediation or other amicable means, children are usually shielded from much of the conflict and tension, which may allow them to heal and adjust to their parents' divorce more easily.

How mediation works

According to the American Bar Association, mediation involves both spouses meeting with a neutral third party to discuss their issues. This third party may be an attorney with mediation experience or a certified mediator. In many cases, a divorce attorney may become certified in mediation to better serve his or her clients. In addition to being cost-effective and reducing conflict, the benefits of mediation include the following:

  • Teaches communication and negotiation skills, which may be effective during joint parenting
  • Private and confidential, rather than open to the public like a court divorce
  • Potentially time-saving - may be over in as few as one or two sessions
  • Customizable, with the potential for each spouse to meet individually with the mediator
  • Mutually agreeable, without having a judge enforce a decision that may not be in the best interests of those involved

Despite the many advantages, there may be some cases in which mediation or any other form of uncontested divorce will not work. For example, an abusive spouse may not wish to cooperate and may intimidate the other during mediation sessions. It can also be difficult to mediate if one spouse is at a financial disadvantage, or if alcohol or substance abuse were factors in the marriage. In these instances, it may be better to bring the case before a judge.

Is an attorney necessary if both spouses have decided to mediate their divorce? An attorney can be useful regardless of the situation, and may also be allowed to attend mediation sessions. In fact, it may be beneficial to have an attorney present to ensure the divorce terms are fair and to make recommendations when necessary. Before deciding which option to take, it can help to speak with an experienced family law attorney in West Hartford.