For any marriage to be dissolved, a lawsuit must be filed. However, the trauma associated with divorce may be greatly reduced if couples are able to avoid litigation. Many divorcing couples in Massachusetts fail to agree on some contentious aspects of their divorce. Divorce mediation may be the answer, and while it is sometimes ordered by a family court, couples may choose to avoid time-consuming, expensive and traumatic litigation by retaining the services of an experienced divorce mediator.
Mediation involves a neutral and objective mediator who facilitates a forum where spouses can discuss their concerns and issues in a calm and open manner. The mediator encourages communication and compromise, which will likely enable the involved parties to continue a relationship after the divorce. This is especially advantageous when there are children involved. During mediation matters such as visitation and parenting plans will be addressed, and parents are afforded the opportunity to create their own divorce settlement, rather than leaving it up to a judge who has no insight into the dynamics of the family.
An experienced mediator will likely be able to point out matters that may lead to future litigation and ensure that all such issues are addressed. At the same time, the best interests of the children will always be kept in mind. Once agreements are reached, the mediator will ensure that a legal document that will hold up in court is drawn up to be authorized by the family court. Mediation may also equip divorcing parents with the skills necessary to resolve conflict in the future.
However, divorce mediation is not the answer for all divorcing couples. In cases where there is a total breakdown of communication between spouses, or in high-asset divorces, litigation may be necessary. Massachusetts couples that are considering divorce may want to consult with a divorce attorney who will be experienced in both mediation and litigation. Once their unique circumstances are assessed, the attorney will suggest the options available to obtain the best possible outcome.
Source: FindLaw, “Divorce Mediation – Overview“, Dec. 27, 2014