Most couples who are ending their marriage choose the traditional method of divorce: litigation.
However, there is an option that is growing in popularity: mediation. There are several advantages to consider including the fact that there is no judge in the mediation process.
If the two of you believe you can work together to iron out your differences rather than letting a judge do it, mediation may be the perfect solution for your divorce. Mediation takes place outside of court in a more informal setting. You and your spouse will sit down with a trained mediator, a neutral third party, whose goal is to provide brainstorming assistance, legal information and guidance to help you come to an agreement satisfactory to both of you.
The average divorce through litigation can take as long as 18 months, longer if significant assets are involved as well as ongoing and bitter disagreements between spouses. By contrast, mediation is a much shorter process: You can expect a mediated divorce to take about 90 days. Many couples like mediation because it is private, whereas a divorce in court is a public matter. The financial costs are also much less than those associated with litigation. Studies find that mediation is also much less stressful than litigation, especially for the children of the marriage.
One of the top benefits of mediation is that the parties learn to communicate with each other without rancor, which is important going forward. If you have children, you will always be parents despite the breakup of your marriage. Your ability to work together through the mediation process will serve you well in terms of co-parenting and establish guidelines that will be helpful in maintaining civil, respectful communication.
Mediation is not recommended if there is a history of violent behavior or drug addiction in your relationship, or if you and your spouse simply cannot agree on issues crucial to a divorce settlement. Explore your legal options and discuss mediation with your spouse if you believe this process is a good solution for your divorce.