Divorce mediation is one option available to couples seeking the dissolution of their marriage. Mediation involves a neutral third party who has legal experience and skills to facilitate communication so the parties can resolve complicated divorce issues. It is a practical alternative to a contested divorce that may be more cost effective and reduce emotional effects that often accompany divorce.
Circumstances under Which Mediation is Most Successful
- Decision to Divorce is Mutual
When the decision to divorce is made by both spouses and at the same time, mediation can be an effective tool to negotiate the terms of a divorce settlement. However, if one of the spouses feels the marriage is over and the other spouse assumes the marriage is intact, the spouse that is caught off guard is likely to be opposed to divorce and uncooperative during mediation.
- Amicable Relations between Spouses
A successful mediation process relies heavily on good relations between the spouses. Animosity often undermines the mediation process. Enlisting the help of a counselor to mitigate hostility between spouses can be very helpful in mediation negotiations. Children can often be an effective motivation for couples to put aside their differences and stay on good terms with each other. The mediator can assist with various techniques to improve communication and reduce hostility.
Financial Matters and Trust
A comprehensive understanding of finances is crucial to negotiate a fair settlement in divorce mediation. In some cases, one spouse may have more knowledge of the couple’s financial situation than the other spouse. Spouses who have little knowledge of their joint financial matters may feel less confident going into mediation. An experienced divorce mediator has the skills to decipher the marital financial picture and explain it to the parties which diminishes uncertainty and therefore facilitates productive negotiations.
In cases where one spouse has lied to the other, the voluntary exchange of information that is common in mediation may be difficult to trust. One lie does not necessarily mean that other crucial aspects of the relationship cannot be trusted. However, if deceitful actions concerning finances and property surface, it is crucial to obtain full and complete disclosure before negotiating a settlement.
- Emotional Control
Spouses who are capable of disagreement without saying or doing things that they will regret later have the ability to conduct themselves appropriately during mediation. Maintaining control of behavior in the face of conflict is imperative for successful divorce mediation. Mediation may not be the path to take for those who find it impossible to control their emotional reactions to their spouses.
The support of an experienced divorce mediator can give spouses who are easily intimidated by their spouse, or who lack confidence, the tools they need to negotiate a divorce settlement. Successful negotiations are unlikely for couples whose relationships involve physical violence, alcohol or drug abuse. Experienced mediators screen couples for these indicators before agreeing to mediate their settlements.
Meditation Process and Agreements
Divorce mediation agreements usually include such issues as property division, child custody and parenting time, child support, spousal support, retirement and taxes. The divorce mediator must remain neutral and should be able to keep the couple focused on the issues, help them make productive decisions and brainstorm ideas through open and honest communication. Mediation can be successful even for those spouses who have very different views. As long as both parties are open to comprise and willing to negotiate, the process can be a win-win for all of those involved.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles Offer Mediation Services throughout Maryland
Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones and Miles, LLC can help divorcing couples resolve their legal matters without the stress and expense of litigation. To find out if divorce mediation is right for your circumstances, call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule your free confidential consultation. We represent clients throughout Maryland in Westminster, Bel Air, Essex, Columbia, Towson and Ellicott City as well as in Baltimore County, Howard County, Carroll County and Harford County.