The divorce process can be emotionally, financially, and mentally challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Couples who work together during the divorce mediation process can resolve conflict areas more quickly and effectively. Mediation provides a divorcing couple with a safe place to express their needs and goals and discover creative solutions for resolving conflicts, such as child custody and property division matters.
If you have children, are financially dependent on your spouse, own a business, or have a high net worth, going through a divorce can be especially difficult. The family law attorneys at Greene Wilson Crow & Smith offer mediation facilitation for our clients. If you’d like to learn more about the divorce mediation process and how we can help you through it, contact Greene Wilson Crow & Smith to schedule an initial consultation.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Even when both spouses agree that they would like an uncontested divorce, conflict areas can still arise. Divorce mediation is an opportunity for both spouses to discuss and work out areas of conflict between themselves with the help of a neutral, third-party mediator. Mediators do not represent either spouse’s interest during mediation, and they do not try to solve the couple’s conflicts in favor of one party or the other.
Instead, the mediator remains neutral and helps guide the conversation. If the couple gets stuck on a topic, the mediator can provide direction and further facilitate the resolution of disagreements. In addition, mediation can also be a helpful way to address conflicts that arise after the divorce has been finalized, such as child custody modification issues.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Many couples pursue divorce mediation to avoid going through a high-conflict, litigious divorce. Instead of going through an adversarial process involving hearings, evidence, witnesses, litigation, and courts, the couple can schedule appointments with a neutral mediator and address outstanding issues of conflict in a more affordable, quicker manner. In addition to cost savings, a couple can save time by working with a mediator.
Instead of waiting for the court to schedule multiple hearings, the couple can schedule appointments with a mediator at times that work for them. Depending on the case, divorce mediation could take weeks instead of months. Divorce mediation can save several thousand dollars by avoiding additional legal fees and court costs. Additionally, many couples pursue mediation because they can keep their negotiation and discussions with their spouse private. There will not be any court records related to the mediation. On the contrary, in-court discussions can be a matter of public record and a source of potential embarrassment.
Setting the Groundwork For Life After Divorce
Divorce mediation provides numerous practical benefits but can also help a couple lay the groundwork for a civil future relationship after the divorce. When a couple shares a child or children together, their lives will be intertwined after the divorce. It can be challenging for couples with a highly contentious, expensive, litigious divorce to come together and co-parent effectively. Pursuing divorce mediation can help you develop the skills for conflict resolution with your soon-to-be ex-spouse in the future.
Is Mediation Right For Me?
If you and your spouse have arguments about your impending divorce, mediation is likely off the table in your case. Mediation may be more challenging if you aren’t on good terms with your spouse. However, you should consider mediation only after thoughtfully considering whether it could help you move forward.
When you work with a compassionate mediator experienced in resolving conflict, he or she can guide the conversation and help you prevent the dialogue from becoming hostile. A mediator can also help you find common ground and work from there to resolve conflict issues. Resolving areas of conflict related to your divorce through mediation can be rewarding.
North Carolina’s Child Custody and Visitation Mediation Program
If you or your spouse have filed for child custody or visitation, you must go through the Child Custody and Visitation Mediation Program. This court-mandated program is required before a party can move to court for a judge to decide on the matter. In some cases, foregoing mediation can be an option when good cause exists, such as substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, or violence. This program is different from divorce mediation, in which the spouses hire a third-party mediator to help them finalize the terms of their divorce.
How Can an Attorney Help with Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Each spouse should hire an attorney to represent his or her legal interests throughout the process. An attorney’s role is different from a mediator’s role. While the mediator will help you reach a compromise impartially, your attorney will continue to look out for your best interest. For example, your attorney can review the compromises you’ve made during mediation to ensure there aren’t any red flags. Your attorney can provide you with legal counsel to help you understand the consequences of the terms of your divorce settlement and ensure your rights are respected throughout the mediation process.
When Mediation May Not Be the Best Option
Mediation offers many benefits, but it isn’t always the best option. If your relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse involves abuse or domestic violence. Abusers are skilled at emotional manipulation, and you could risk experiencing further abuse through mediation. In this situation, working with an attorney who can help you pursue an order of protection and protect yourself and your rights may be the best option.
Discuss Your Case with a New Bern Divorce Mediation Attorney
Divorce mediation can efficiently resolve differences between you and your spouse so that you can move more quickly with your divorce. If you have questions about whether mediation is the right solution, we encourage you to talk to the knowledgeable family law attorneys at Greene Wilson Crow & Smith. After carefully reviewing your case, we can help guide and prepare you for the mediation process. Contact Greene Wilson Crow & Smith to schedule a consultation to discuss your case with a skilled New Bern divorce mediation attorney.