Is Mediating a Divorce Better Than Suing for Divorce?

Posted on: 19 October 2020

Divorce mediation services are available for folks who are looking for a less combative approach to ending a marriage. The divorce mediation process isn't ideal for every situation, but it does have its strengths when compared to suing for divorce. Let's look at how you can determine whether it might be better to mediate or go through the more adversarial process.

What Makes Divorce Mediation Different

When you sue for divorce, there are two sides to the case. Consequently, that means each side has to seek representation separately because they are adversaries. That applies even if the two ex-partners want to conduct the divorce in a civilized manner and without getting into a fight.

Instead, the law requires them to be adversaries. Likewise, that means only one lawyer can represent the interests of one party. If you want legal advice, the attorney representing your ex can't provide it because their job is to zealously advocate for their client's interests.

Conversely, providers of divorce mediation services work with both sides. The goal isn't to achieve victory for the client. Instead, the goal is to see that the process goes smoothly and everyone's rights are protected. Not only does this reduce potential fights, but it also helps the two sides save money because they're not paying for lawyers and additional court costs.

How the Process Works

First, both sides have to agree to the mediation process. Second, they have to determine whether they want the process to be binding or non-binding. If you agree to binding mediation, that makes the outcome of the process final. This may save money and time, but it can make it much harder to challenge an outcome you don't like.

The mediator will take stock of the situation at the end of the marriage. They'll determine what assets the couple shared legally in the marriage and propose a fair division according to state laws. If the two ex-partners want to do some horse-trading, this would be the time to do it.

A similar approach is used to handle child custody, support, and visitation issues. The focus is on fairly distributing time and financial support following state law. Furthermore, the same approach is applied to alimony and any issues left from a pre-marital agreement, if necessary.

Most importantly, once the two sides have reached a set of agreements, the mediator presents it in writing. After they have both signed, the paperwork is sent to the family court for the county. A judge will review and approve the divorce as long as everything is square.