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Will mediation work in your divorce?

Once you and your spouse decide to divorce, several options remain for both of you. One of those is mediation in lieu of litigation.

Mediation is sometimes referred to as alternative dispute resolution, and can work out well with many couples. But not all separating spouses will be good candidates. Below are some things to keep in mind when pondering mediation.

-- Are you and your ex able to be civil to one another? This is paramount for a successful mediation.

-- Is there an underlying respect between the two of you that will allow both sides to voice their concerns and wishes freely?

-- Are the two of you mature enough to communicate about a variety of subjects without acrimony — custody, visitation, distribution of assets, etc.?

-- Is your relationship free of any incidents of domestic violence? Couples with an abusive history are not candidates for mediation.

Remember that the mediator isn't a judge and doesn't decide matters. He or she is there to assist former couples with reaching a satisfactory agreement between themselves. A mediator will meet with both parties individually to learn what each one wants and what any sticking points may be.

Mediation can be a good choice when there are children because it is less stressful than going to court. It also shows kids that Mommy and Daddy are able to cooperate, which can have a positive effect on them.

Don't stress if the mediation gets hung up on one or two issues. Even if that is the case, litigation can be limited to those matters, which saves both time and money.

If you think that mediation is something you would like to explore, mention this to your family law attorney.

Source: American Bar Association, "Benefits of Mediation in Divorce Cases," Holly Clemente, accessed Oct. 30, 2015

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