Divorce Mediation Overview
As an alternative to a trial or other litigation, a divorcing couple may choose to resolve their outstanding disputes through divorce mediation. In some jurisdictions, a divorcing couple is even required to attempt mediation before being able to litigate their issues before the trial court. However, even when mediation is not ordered by the court, either party can propose to resolve outstanding issues through mediation.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process that involves both spouses, their attorneys if requested, and an individual known as a mediator. The mediator is a neutral third-party whose role is to help facilitate communication between the parties. Unlike a court or an arbitration, the mediator has no decision-making authority over the parties; any decisions must be made by the parties. Instead, the mediator attempts to guide the parties to a settlement of their outstanding issues. Mediation may only resolve some of the outstanding issues between a divorcing couple, or it may end up resolving all the issues in the case.
What Gets Resolved in Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation can resolve virtually any issue of dispute between a divorcing couple. For example, mediation can help the parties divide their marital assets and liabilities, or reach an agreement on alimony or child support. Mediation is often most helpful in the area of child custody by helping parents to create a parenting plan. A parenting plan sets forth the important aspects of how a divorced couple will co-parent their children, including addressing issues like visitation, custody during holidays, rules and restrictions for the children, and the religious or moral instruction that the children will receive.
Mediators may not give the parties legal advice. Each party has the right to counsel if they wish to discuss the legal ramifications of the mediation agreement.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation can have many benefits when compared to trying to resolve outstanding issues in a divorce through trial or other litigation. These benefits can include:
- Retaining control over the outcome – If a divorcing couple chooses to litigate their disputes, then a judge will reach a decision for both parties. Conversely, in mediation, the parties retain full control over what the final agreement will look like
- Ability to reach creative solutions – Courts are bound to reach decision as dictated by the law. However, in mediation, the parties may come up with more creative solutions to their disputes that better satisfy both parties and better serve the family
- Enhanced communication – Mediation allows a divorcing couple trying to reach an agreement on their outstanding issues to have better communication. The mediator can keep the parties on track to the important issues if they get off-topic or begin to argue or get personal. Mediation will have ground rules that preclude poor communication tactics like abuse, name-calling, or personal insults. Particularly when a divorcing couple has children, good communication is necessary to maintain.
- Improved adherence to the divorce judgment – When both parties are responsible for the creation of their divorce settlement agreement, they are far more likely to adhere to the terms of that agreement when they are incorporated into the divorce decree.
- Lower costs – Mediation can often be less expensive than going through litigation, since mediation can result in a faster resolution of issues.
Contact a Lansdale Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce Mediation in Pennsylvania Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The Pennsylvania family law attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C represent clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Newtown, Doylestown, Lansdale, and Norristown. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (215) 822-7575 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 2605 N. Broad St., Colmar, PA 18915, as well as an office located in Newtown, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.