Going through a divorce can be difficult for anyone, but couples with children face a significant challenge. Spouses who plan on co-parenting children through and after a divorce must draft a parenting agreement unique to their situation, then stick to their end of the bargain.
Many families find success using mediation to draft these agreements. Divorce mediation offers divorcing parties several benefits, especially for people with children.
The advantages of mediated negotiations
The use of mediation in divorce cases has increased over the past two decades as more couples request it from a judge. Judges will usually grant these requests, as courtrooms also benefit with mediation.
Mediation offers the following benefits:
- Choice of mediator: With a mediated divorce, couples can choose any neutral party to serve as mediator. A mediator helps a divorcing couple negotiate their agreements by guiding discussions toward collaboration and compromise. Professional mediators train in communication techniques. Mediators encourage listening and empathy to draft an acceptable agreement for both parties.
- Easier scheduling: Mediation can happen in almost any neutral location chosen by the couple. Without needing a courtroom, a couple can schedule their negotiations whenever they want. With traditional litigation, a couple may wait months for their scheduled court date.
- More affordable: The cost of a mediated divorce is much lower than traditional litigation. Mediation does not incur court fees, lawyers frequently charge lower rates when working in mediation, and some courts may even pay for the mediator.
- Confidential: Mediated negotiations are entirely confidential. Even spouses who get along may have difficulty dividing assets and drafting childcare plans without an argument or two. In a courtroom, a stenographer would record these arguments and enter them into the public record. Future disputes may pull data from these transcripts, forcing families to relive those difficult times. There is no risk with mediation.
- Better results: Couples who use mediation to negotiate a divorce agreement express greater satisfaction than those who use traditional litigation. In a courtroom, a judge will hand down their ruling, often finding one spouse at fault. That spouse may take issue with the verdict, leading to a bitter fight between co-parents for years. With mediation, each spouse agrees to the terms before signing. Since the couple designed their responsibilities and compromises, each party is more likely to uphold their end.
Assess the case with legal counsel
Spouses considering mediation can bring their questions to a local lawyer familiar with divorce laws in Wisconsin. An attorney can help hire a mediator, draft divorce agreements and work with the courts.