Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. Courts often rule that civil cases, like divorce, may resolve in mediation instead of traditional litigation. Judges will not allow any case to leave the courtroom however, and only grant mediation if the disputing parties can use it well.
For divorce, a judge will rule for mediation if the couple can communicate, listen to each other and is willing to compromise. Mediation can provide many benefits, but only for people willing to work together.
Mediation carries value beyond the marriage
Mediation requires compromise, a mutual understanding and an intent to compromise. Adversarial spouses or contested divorce will not find a solution here.
Mediation’s benefits are immediately available:
- Select the mediator: Professional mediators complete a certification course with New York State to learn listening and empathy techniques that help disputing parties work together. These neutral parties do not issue judgments but encourage communication, and spouses understand each other enough to draft fair and satisfactory agreements.
- Private negotiations: Confidentiality is vital to mediation. In a courtroom, couples must take care with what they say, as a court stenographer records all dialogue as a matter of public record. A lawyer could use these words against a party, even in a future dispute. Mediation is entirely private, allowing spouses to speak freely and express themselves without legal consequences.
- Lower cost: Spouses spend an average of $15,000 per person for a courtroom divorce. With mediation, lawyers cost less, the couple does not incur court fees and many states pay for a mediator. The average cost of mediation is $1,500 per person — one-tenth the cost of litigation.
- Faster resolutions: Once approved for mediation, couples can begin negotiations at their convenience. The couple can work at their pace and within their budget, unconstrained by court schedules.
- Better resolutions: Couples who draft agreements through mediation feel more satisfied with the results than those using courtroom litigation. Couples using mediation have complete control over all terms in their agreements and do not have to content with unfair rulings from a judge or spiteful intentions of a spouse.
Curious about mediation? A lawyer can help
Spouses considering divorce should evaluate all their options before filing. A local attorney familiar with New York divorce law can field questions about mediation, work with judges and recommend the safest and most effective way toward a satisfactory resolution.