You may be going through an onslaught of emotions since you and your spouse decided to divorce. It is the end of one phase of your life, and it may be difficult at this time to think of the positives that may come in the next phase. Perhaps you do not want to enter this new post-divorce life with bitterness and contention between you and your ex, and you are looking for a way to divorce without the drama litigation often brings.
Many Florida couples find that mediation is a more civilized and peaceful process for divorcing than taking your breakup to court. While mediation is not for every couple, many find that it allows them more control over their divorce and leaves them with a more positive relationship than a traditional divorce. If you have kids, this may be especially important to you.
The process and benefits of mediation
To divorce using mediation, you and your spouse will each obtain legal counsel to ensure the protection of your rights and best interests. Then you will need to agree on a neutral third party who will be the intermediary as you work through the issues of your divorce. You and your spouse will discuss and negotiate matters like child custody, asset division and spousal support, and the mediator will facilitate the discussion and keep you on track. You may see the following benefits from choosing mediation over litigation:
- The process and outcome of your mediated divorce will be confidential, unlike a court proceeding, which is a matter of public record.
- Mediation is often much faster and less expensive than a trial.
- You and your spouse have control over the final decisions in your divorce instead of allowing a judge to make these critical choices.
- A fair and objective mediator can provide unbiased suggestions that you and your spouse may not have considered, but he or she will not force a decision on you.
There are some drawbacks to mediation, such as having to trust that your spouse is fully disclosing assets and income rather than relying on the discovery process. Additionally, if your spouse is abusive or controlling, you may be unable to obtain a fair settlement. It is wise to have legal counsel who is familiar with mediated divorce to avoid giving your spouse an unfair advantage and to ensure you fully understand each step of the process.