You and your partner have decided to go your separate ways, but you’re already dreading the custody agreement that the courts will devise. Fortunately, there’s a way that’s often simpler, less expensive and more collaborative.
Mediation is the process of working with your partner to determine the division of assets and custody alike without immediately putting things in the hands of a judge. Studies have shown that clients view mediators significantly more helpful in arranging custody and visitation than litigation attorneys. Mediation attempts to be a more inclusive process than a series of court appearances, likely leaving you and your partner happier with the joint outcome.
Mediating can save you a lot of trouble when approaching a difficult topic like custody, but it is imperative that you get a mediator that excels at the art:
- Equality: Having a strong mediator can be essential to both sides getting a fair share in negotiations. If your partner comes in hot, it may take a skilled and neutral third-party to clam them down and make sure they hear your side of the case.
- Expression: Emotions run high during a divorce, and it may be difficult to express your views and thoughts properly. A skilled mediator can act as a translator, taking what you have in your head and presenting it clearly to your partner.
- Empowerment: An over-bearing mediator may have their own ideas of what needs to happen at the table, but that might not be in your best interest. A big advantage to mediation is being able to bring your marriage to an agreeable close with your partner to leave you both satisfied, something that may not happen if someone else is driving negotiations.
- Education: Your mediator usually doesn’t need to be a lawyer, but it can really help the process move along. Your agreement will likely need a judge to sign off on the terms. Even though your mediation process happens outside the court, straying too far beyond legal bounds could give a judge pause.
Getting divorced is a difficult undertaking, especially when it comes to forming a custody agreement that is in the best interest of your child. Tackling these problems begins with finding the right mediator and trusting them to navigate you through the mediation process.