Men researching options for ending their marriages are often overwhelmed by what can seem like a confusing game of terminology. Divorce, legal separation, mediation, and collaborative divorce are a few of the most common terms used to describe some of the different paths to ending a marriage.
What Is Mediation?
Of these examples, mediation seems to be the most ambiguous—we are often asked “what is mediation” and “is it right for me”?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. In plain English, it is a way for both parties to reach an agreement that is legally binding but doesn’t require the involvement of traditional legal channels.
When Is It Used?
Typically, mediation is voluntary and done by bringing in a neutral third party to help the parties reach an agreement. Trained mediators will use a variety of tactics to keep negotiations moving forward. The mediator should help you and your spouse work through issues and reach an agreement that meets both your needs.
What does it include?
The mediation will address:
- the distribution of property,
- including debts and assets,
- visitation and parenting time,
- spousal and child support,
- and any other issues that need to be resolved in the process of ending your marriage.
Mediation can be an effective tool for divorce or custody cases, but parties considering mediation should be well informed prior to beginning the process. Contentious or high conflict divorces are often not well suited for mediation— couples that are amicable, willing to compromise and communicate openly tend to have the most success.
Related Reading: Mediation Vs Arbitration: Which Is Right For You?
Related Reading: Community Property: How Are Assets Split In Divorce?