For many adults, the word divorce is effectively synonymous with litigation. People assume that they will end up embroiled in a conflict with their spouse in court and that they will have to pay to resolve their disagreements. While it is true that some court involvement is necessary, as a judge must sign off on a divorce to formally dissolve a marital relationship, there is no requirement that spouses litigate property division matters or custody issues.
A couple always has the option of filing an uncontested divorce in which spouses reach a mutual agreement about what they should do with their property and how they should share responsibility for their children (if applicable). Mediation is one way for couples to settle those matters with each other. Divorce mediation involves working with a trained professional who serves as a neutral third party to facilitate communication and compromise. The following are some of the potential benefits of attending divorce mediation instead of litigating the major decisions in a Missouri divorce.
The spouses retain control
For many people, the most appealing aspect of mediation is how it empowers spouses to set all of their own terms. They can reach an agreement about everything from who stays in the marital home to who has the children on Christmas next year. Particularly when spouses have certain assets they need to preserve or certain terms that matter deeply to them, the ability to retain control over the outcome can be a significant advantage.
The spouses can protect their privacy
What people discuss in mediation sessions, ranging from financial misconduct and romantic infidelity to spousal abuse, will remain confidential. Only the final agreement detailing the couple’s terms for property division and other aspects of their divorce will end up part of the public record due to submission to the courts.
The spouses can minimize conflict
Litigated divorce proceedings pit spouses against each other in an oppositional arrangement that may see them fighting bitterly with each other. Not only can divorce litigation strain the relationship between parents, but it can expose the children in the family to a lot of conflict. Those who want to preserve a working relationship with each other and/or to protect their children from the acrimony of a traditional divorce may find that mediation is a better solution than litigation. As a final note, when couples successfully mediate, they are able to drastically reduce how much time they require in court and therefore can potentially minimize what they end up paying for their divorce.
Understanding why mediation is such an appealing alternative to traditional litigated divorce can help people to determine if it is the right option for their family.