Mediation may be the best way to reach a divorce agreement

This article gives a brief overview of divorce mediation and details about its short- and long-term benefits.

For many Minnesota couples contemplating divorce, the prospect of contentious court battles can be enough to put off ending their marriage even when such a marriage no longer functions as it should. People divorce for a variety of reasons, but just because a marriage ends doesn't mean that former spouses are incapable of negotiating a divorce settlement in a civil and respectful manner. An increasingly popular alternative to litigated divorce is divorce mediation, which not only helps keep the peace during divorce, but could also offer significant practical and emotional benefits.

How it works

Mediation keeps divorce out of court. The mediator in a divorce, who may be a family law attorney, helps spouses come to an agreement. The mediator's role is completely neutral, meaning that even if he is an attorney he cannot give legal advice to either spouse. He can, however, help ensure that a final agreement is legally enforceable. Once both spouses come to an agreement, they should still take that agreement to their respective attorneys to ensure that it is in their best interests.

Short- and long-term benefits

Couples choose mediation for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the most practical benefits of mediation concern time and money. While the time it takes to successfully mediate a divorce depends on the complexity of each case, an average case, as FindLaw points out, is typically completed within a couple of months. Additionally, couples are more free to choose their own schedule rather than be tied down by court dates and possible delays.

Money is another significant advantage for couples who choose mediation. Again, because every divorce is unique it is difficult to generalize about expenses, but typically a mediated divorce costs just a fraction of what it would have cost had the case gone to court.

Another advantage of mediation, however, may not be obvious at the beginning of the process, but it could deeply benefit one's family for years to come. As Forbes points out, parents who go through a mediated divorce are more likely to have an easier time getting along with one another in the future. This improved relationship not only reduces the parents' stress, it also makes life easier for their children as well. Divorce can be difficult on children, but if both parents are able to get along even after their marriage ends then their children are more likely to be able to better cope with their parents' divorce.

Family law

A family law attorney can help anybody who has questions or concerns about mediation. Couples who are looking for a mediator should contact an attorney who is qualified and experienced in divorce mediation. Alternatively, anybody who has already reached a divorce agreement through mediation should consult an attorney to ensure that the agreement they have does not work against their own best interests.

At Coodin & Overson, PLLP, attorneys Steven Coodin and Paul Overson represent clients in mediation and review agreements reached in mediation.