Communication is key. It doesn’t matter whether it’s to do with a relationship, a business, children, or shopping, if you can’t or won’t communicate with other people, you’re going to be at a great disadvantage.
There is no doubt that good communication grounds a marriage and helps it succeed. Conversely, a lack of communication will often lead to breakdown of marriage. When a marriage isn’t working, couples will often consult with marriage counselors who will help them work through their problems. If that doesn’t work, and their differences are irreconcilable, the most common solution is divorce. And that means litigation, right?
While divorce means splitting – as a couple, as a family (if there are children), and in terms of possessions and property – divorce doesn’t have to be settled by litigation. Instead of fighting out the details of divorce in a court of law, before a judge, there is another option… mediation. Even though divorce is usually a result of irreconcilable differences, and an untenable situation where two people simply can’t agree or communicate, for whatever reason, trained mediators, who may be divorce mediation attorneys, can help alleviate the process.
How Mediation Attorneys Help Alleviate the Divorce Process
In a nutshell, a mediation attorney is an impartial third party who helps couples who have decided on divorce resolve their differences in a civil, non-adversarial way. It’s a similar concept to collaborative family law where couples have attorneys who represent them and help reach a settlement that doesn’t involve litigation. But instead of both parties having their own collaborative attorney, mediation attorneys work alone, with the couple, helping them come to a settlement that suits both husband and wife.
Mediation attorneys have a lot of success with couples who are prepared to work with a trained person who will help them resolve disputes in a mature way, without fighting or bickering.
Mediators may not be judgmental and may not make decisions for the parties. They have to be impartial and their primary goal is to help the couple reach agreement. Furthermore, mediators cannot take any form of action that is binding on the two parties. Their role is strictly one of dispute intervention and dispute resolution. They will, though, explain how the legal system works, and provide information about acceptable ways divorce disputes are usually resolved.
One of the most positive aspects of using mediation attorneys to help with divorce relates to children born from the marriage. Apart from anything else, when children become aware of the fact that their parents are collaborating, rather than fighting, they are sure to feel more secure. Furthermore, mediation is more likely than litigation to result in some sort of joint custody, including co-parenting.
How Mediation Attorneys Help Couples Communicate
In order to resolve disputes in a level-headed manner, mediation attorneys basically facilitate communication between husband and wife, allowing each to state how they feel and what their needs are. It’s not just a matter of debating the issues, but rather the couple – with the mediator as a kind of chairman – follow a pre-agreed agenda. This agreement is formulated by the mediator after consultation with both parties, and includes submission of all necessary data including financial records. Often the mediator will suggest that other experts, including accountants or appraisers, give their opinion and advise just as they would in an adversarial process.
The communication process is monitored by the mediator, who ensures both parties are able to express themselves uninterrupted. They will often ask questions for the sake of clarity.
Generally sessions with mediation attorneys last one to two hours, and there will be a series of sessions to ensure all issues can be resolved.
If the mediator is an attorney, he or she will be able to draft an agreement based on discussions held. This is then reviewed by both husband and wife, and usually their individual attorneys as well. Once they all agree on the terms, the divorce papers can be filed and a court date set. In most cases, judgment will be based on the signed agreement, and it will be as enforceable as any divorce judgment reached through litigation.
Waggoner Hastings are specialist family and collaborative law attorneys, and can help couples come to divorce agreements through the mediation process.