Divorce Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution

How to Use Mediation in Divorce

Alternative dispute resolution is a good alternative to hiring an attorney and resolving problems in front of a judge. Couples who use divorce mediation and mediation services are generally more satisfied with agreements they have made. Also, these results can usually be achieved with less cost and more quickly.

There are several reasons why conflict resolution through mediation can be more effective than going to court. Couples who create an agreement in mediation are more likely to adhere to the terms of the agreement. If children are involved, the couples usually have a better idea of what will work than a judge would. When couples mediate, they are assisted in the process by an impartial third person who helps them reach an agreement. This third person or "mediator" does not make decisions or take sides. The mediator and arbitrator attempts to be fair to everyone involved and to help them find an adequate solution.

If couples are seeking an arbitration or mediation, they are trying to resolve many of the routine problems that can come up in court. These problems in alternative dispute resolution may include such things as child-support, visitation, property division, and the division of other financial assets.

Many couples seek divorce mediation instead of going to trial. There can be a mediation process before separation or during and after the divorce process. It is possible for a final divorce decree to state that in any future conflicts the couple agree to seek mediation or arbitration thorough an arbitrator and mediator to resolve problems occurring after their divorce is final.

Although it is possible to go through the entire divorce completely on their own without the services of an arbitrator or mediator, it might be wise to contact an attorney before the mediation process to find out what your legal rights and duties are. When you contact the attorney, inquire if they offer "unbundled" legal services. If they do, they may be willing to assist you in one part of your divorce action. Meanwhile, you can complete other parts with the assistance of a mediator or on your own. It is also possible to conclude the mediation process by asking the mediator to draft a sample memorandum of understanding. Although this is not a final divorce decree, it is a document for the attorney to review with you. The attorney's fee should be less than the fee they would charge for full representation of all phases of the divorce. Having an attorney review any agreement before you sign off on it is always a good idea. Other information and resources for finding an arbitrator and mediator can be found by searching the internet for the American Arbitration Association.

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