Divorce is tough and because it is generally the final chapter in a failed relationship negotiating divorce terms with your spouse might seem impossible. How are you going to agree on divorce terms that will suit both parties?
This is why you need other people to be involved in the process. But, while a judge is a mandatory factor in divorce a mediation attorney is not. So why would you choose to involve the latter? Why not just rely on friends and family for support?
Advantages of Mediation for Divorce
In divorce, two different ways are litigation and mediation.
If you choose straightforward litigation (which in most cases is never straightforward) you consult with a divorce attorney and go to court. Similarly, your spouse will get an attorney and the two attorneys will battle it out in court in front of a judge. Ultimately it will be the judge who decides what the terms of your divorce will be including maintenance, custody, and visitation issues, as well as a settlement in terms of possessions and property.
The judge will make decisions based on “evidence” presented by the attorneys in what is invariably a very limited period of time. There is no negotiation and you’ll have to do what you’re told to do or go to court again.
Mediation enables couples to take control of their own future. But this doesn’t mean that they have to work it all out on their own. Instead, mediation is a structured approach that involves a professional mediator who works with the two parties and then helps them to structure a mutually beneficial settlement. While family and collaborative law attorneys may be qualified to undertake mediation, they may not provide any kind of legal advice to either spouse. They are not allowed to give financial advice either.
Mediation is also less costly than litigation.
How Mediation Works
Mediators work with both parties in a divorce and must remain neutral. Their meetings with both spouses are confidential and they can never be subpoenaed to give evidence in court about what was discussed. Even though mediation is a voluntary process, the court does sometimes order couples to go to mediation. However, no court can force a couple to reach an agreement via mediation. This has to be voluntary and if there is no agreement then litigation will be the only option.
If you are facing a divorce the trained mediators at Waggoner Hastings can help you with mediation or litigation. Contact us for a consultation in our Atlanta or Alpharetta Offices.