When Sarah and Ben decided to end their marriage, they both hired attorneys. In just a few short months, however, they had spent thousands of dollars in attorney fees and court filings and nothing was moving along.
Frustrated that the proceedings were taking so long, Sarah researched mediation. Ben quickly agreed and in a short time, they reached an agreement they could both live with. Their attorneys reviewed it, signed off and it was filed with the court.
Why does it take so long?
It’s not that attorneys go out of their way to delay cases. Sarah’s and Ben’s lawyers were no doubt doing the best they could. But the court system itself sets people up to be adversarial. Many people, however, would prefer a more collaborative approach and this is where mediation can be a welcome alternative for many couples.
Rather than spend time filing motions and attending court, a couple can meet with a neutral third party—often also a licensed attorney—who can explain the law to them and help them negotiate the various statutes that apply to their situation.
What can be mediated?
Things such as property division, spousal maintenance, child support and even child custody can be mediated in a cooperative atmosphere that focuses on arriving at an agreement that will best benefit all involved.
Mediation gives the couple a great deal of freedom in establishing a fair settlement, rather than having one forced upon them by a court. Additionally, it can lay a framework for peaceful discussion that can become a foundation for modifications, should the need arise in the future.