Divorce mediation has helped millions of Americans, including many Minnesotans, resolve matters like property division, alimony and child custody successfully and amicably without the need for contentious settlement negotiations or a court trial. But mediation is not the best method in every case.
Like most things in life, nothing is perfect. There are many positive aspects of mediation, but there are some negatives too. Here are some pros and cons of mediation to consider as you ponder if it’s the right way to handle your divorce.
- Less of a fight. A traditional divorce is set up as one party versus the other, just like any other civil litigation. Mediation looks at divorce differently. It gives you and your ex the chance to collaborate on a settlement you both can live with, and a sense of ownership over the process that traditional divorce often does not provide.
- You both need the right attitude. As you can imagine, mediation only works when both sides buy into the process. You and your ex must be able to put aside your differences and focus on the task at hand. This may be impossible if your relationship is especially contentious or issues like domestic violence, addiction or mental illness are involved.
- Save money. A successful mediation takes less time than most traditional divorces. Not only does this mean your divorce can be finalized faster, it can save you significant money in legal fees and court costs.
- Lack of structure. In court, you have strict rules of procedure, while mediation usually is much looser. Some people prefer to have set, predictable rules, along with the rights you have as a party to a legal proceeding.
A conversation with a family law attorney with experience in divorce mediation can help you clarify whether to give it a try.