What Is Mediation and When Is It Appropriate?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which two parties meet with a third-party, neutral mediator to settle a conflict. Mediators are trained to help each party express their wants and needs clearly, including discussions of feelings and each person’s side of the story. Once you’ve discussed your situation and possible compromises, you’ll make a decision together. Then, you’ll usually finalize it in a written agreement. This process has a high success rate—between 70 and 80% of mediations result in an agreement. The mediator can’t require you to do anything, and the mediation agreement isn’t automatically legally binding. However, you can decide to file it with the court to make it so.
In divorce cases, mediation can be an excellent option when the spouses don’t get along well enough to come to an agreement on their own but are willing to explore alternatives to the traditional court process. Still, there are a few reasons to avoid mediation. The parties don’t need to get along with each other, but they do need to be willing to participate in the process. If either person is likely to lie during the proceedings, or if there’s abuse or fear of abuse, mediation probably won’t be a safe or successful option. Otherwise, it’s a productive and effective way for many divorcing couples to come to an agreement they’re both willing to keep.
What Does a Mediation Lawyer Do?
Winston-Salem mediation lawyers aren’t required during mediation, but working with one is still a good idea. Your mediation lawyer can ensure you understand the process before you start participating in mediation sessions. If you would like, your Winston-Salem lawyer can attend mediation with you. You can also participate in mediation on your own and have your Winston-Salem mediation lawyer advise and coach you between meetings. While this shouldn’t be your sole focus during meditation, having a sense of the likely outcomes of going to court can be helpful. Your Winston-Salem mediation attorney can give you an idea of what you could expect from a judge based on your situation.
Your divorce mediation will generally result in a written agreement, which you can file with the court to make legally binding. It’s a good idea to have your Winston-Salem mediation lawyer review this agreement before you sign it. They can ensure you understand all the legal implications of the agreement, especially as your situation changes in the future. This is particularly important when your divorce involves complicated property divisions. After your agreement is finalized and signed, your Winston-Salem mediation lawyer can also make sure you follow the proper steps to make it legally enforceable.
Starting mediation doesn’t mean you’re obligated to finish the process and come to an agreement. If you attempt mediation and it doesn’t work out, having a mediation lawyer in Winston-Salem already familiar with your case will allow you to move the dispute to court easily.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
There are many reasons to choose mediation over court when settling a divorce. First, the mediation process is faster because you don’t need to fit into the court’s packed schedule. Mediation is also more private. These sessions are generally confidential, while court proceedings usually aren’t.
Divorce usually requires you to make difficult decisions about your children and finances. Mediation is often a more comfortable environment than a courtroom. The process is fairly informal and doesn’t rely on a strict procedure. Going to court can feel intimidating. Mediation lets you avoid doing so. Since the two parties ultimately come to their own agreement with the mediator’s guidance, it’s also a way to retain more control. You can discuss the tradeoffs involved in different options and make your own decision instead of having a judge make one for you. The mediator will help you consider your individual needs and preferences rather than following a set formula.
Since mediation is designed to help you solve the conflict while maintaining the relationship, it can put you and your former spouse in a better position going forward. This is especially important when you have children and want a healthy co-parenting relationship. Going through mediation can help you understand each other’s perspectives better and develop your conflict-resolution skills. This can help you avoid going to court if you need to update your agreement in the future and support a better post-marriage relationship in general.
Contact a Winston-Salem Mediation Lawyer to Discuss Your Divorce Options
Mediation is based on compromise and cooperation, which makes it a big mindset shift for a Winston-Salem mediation lawyer who’s used to fighting for their clients’ interests. This is why it’s essential to choose a Winston-Salem mediation attorney with experience working with clients during mediation. At King Law, our mediation lawyers are certified mediators who believe in the benefits of mediation.
If you’re going through a divorce and are interested in trying mediation, the next step is hiring an experienced mediation attorney. Talk to the mediation team at King Law about your case by calling us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING. You can also fill out our contact form.