The vast majority of divorces—upwards of 90%—are settled before a trial. That’s good news for most divorcing spouses, because trials are contentious and expensive. But if you are at the beginning of the divorce process, you may wonder how on earth you and your spouse will ever reach agreement on issues like custody, child support, equitable distribution of property, and spousal support.
Reaching a settlement that will allow you to resolve your divorce and move forward with your life is often a challenge. The good news is, you don’t have to figure things out alone. One option for crafting an agreement in your divorce is mediation.
In mediation, spouses meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, and attempt to reach an agreement regarding the issues related to their separation. Most mediators are also family law attorneys.
Depending on the situation, the spouses may be in the same room or in different rooms with the mediator moving back and forth between them. The mediator helps the spouses frame the unresolved issues in their divorce and identify possible resolutions. The mediation may take place in one session, or may require multiple sessions to address all areas of dispute. The goal is to arrive at solutions that serve the needs of both spouses, and their children, if they have any.
The mediator is not a judge. He or she does not tell the spouses what to do, advocate for one spouse or the other, or make recommendations. Instead, the mediator keeps the spouses focused on the issues and facilitates communication between them. The mediator also draws up a document memorializing the agreement between the parties that their own divorce attorneys can incorporate into a final settlement agreement.
Mediation offers a number of advantages over a litigated divorce. Like Collaborative divorce, another form of ADR, the emphasis of mediation is on finding solutions that advance the interests of both spouses, rather than forcing them to oppose each other. Benefits of mediation include the following:
Divorce is stressful in part because it makes life seem out of control. Mediation offers divorcing spouses more control of the both divorce process and its outcome. While mediation has many advantages, it also requires a great deal of thought and effort from the divorcing spouses. A committed family law attorney can help you to prepare for mediation and get the most out of the process.
Divorce isn’t just about closing the door to the past; it’s about building a bridge to the future. At Southpark Family Law, we witness firsthand the benefits mediation has for our clients in moving forward with their lives. Our attorneys are trained mediators and have also represented numerous clients in Mecklenburg County and the surrounding region through the mediation process.
Whether you are seeking an experienced, impartial mediator, or a family law attorney to advise you as you mediate your divorce, Southpark Family Law is here to help. We invite you to contact Southpark Family Law to schedule a consultation and to learn more about mediation in North Carolina.