Divorce mediation instead of litigation: What are the benefits?

Divorcing couples who believe that mediation is the right choice for them, as opposed to litigation, should approach this decision with care.

When couples in Colorado decide to divorce, they can choose to deliberate divorce-related issues, such as marital property division and child custody, to come to an agreement through mediation or litigate their divorce in court. Although mediation can be a beneficial option for many couples, the decision to dissolve their marriage independently outside of court is one that should be approached with careful consideration.

Reasons to mediate

According to The Huffington Post, there are several reasons why couples may want to consider mediating their divorce. First, this form of alternative dispute resolution allows couples to set their own timeframe for resolving issues. Since couples do not have to wait for court dates or to coordinate their schedules with judges and two separate lawyers, this process can often lead to a faster resolution.

Secondly, mediation allows divorcing parents to shield their children from conflict. When parents are involved in the often adversarial and contentious litigation process, their children may be exposed to this tension, leading to stress, confusion and long-lasting damage. With the help of a neutral mediator, parents may be better able to focus on the needs of their children since they are not involved in an inflammatory litigation process.

Additionally, mediation also encourages communication between divorcing parents. Due to this, spouses with years of co-parenting ahead of them may find that the mediation process prepares them to effectively deal with the challenges of sharing parental responsibilities.

Lastly, during the litigation process, sensitive topics and private family problems are discussed in front of a court room where a judge, officers and other court employees are present. Mediation is a much more private process because all documents and communications used during the process are viewed as confidential, privileged information and most meetings are held in an office.

Mediation isn't the right choice for every couple

Although mediation is associated with many benefits, this process is not the right choice for every couple. According to Forbes, mediation should be avoided in the following situations:

  • One spouse is suspected of keeping financial information hidden-during mediation, all information is voluntarily disclosed, making it easier for one spouse to hide assets from the other.
  • One spouse is more dominating than the other-this may lead to unfair negotiations and a final settlement that is significantly more favorable for the dominating spouse.

Couples who believe that the mediation process could benefit them should be fully aware of the impact the choice to mediate can have during their divorce and after a final settlement has been reached. If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, speak with an attorney who can help you determine if mediation is the best choice for your situation.

Keywords: divorce, mediation, litigation

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