Mention the word divorce and images of heated courtroom battles come to mind: lawyers butchering issues, cutting deals, and bargaining away the things that matter most. You may fear that divorce would bankrupt you, give you a nervous breakdown, or both.
The truth? Divorce is often a painful transition that is personal and unique for each individual. This juncture may be a great burden finally lifted; it may also be the loss of a dream and full of seemingly bottomless grief. Divorce can be costly: financially, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. Most discover the best and the worst parts of themselves when under this strain, and negotiating the division of this partnership can be a roller coaster ride.
Money, property, and parenting responsibilities are just a few of the many life issues that are reconfigured to create a new normal following divorce. This process requires time, emotional perseverance, and legal expertise to help make the best decisions amidst a pivotal life change.
Despite the horror stories, divorce need not be contentious. Couples can avoid conflict and preserve an original intent of peaceful division through a process called “mediated divorce.” Mediation is an affordable and gentle way to end a partnership, without a courtroom or lawyers posturing in front of a judge. Successful mediation guides couples to end their marriage with honesty, straightforwardness, and a sense of honor that allows healing for both spouses.
So how exactly does mediated divorce work?
Rather than each spouse hiring an attorney, couples who choose mediated divorce hire a single person as their mediator. The mediator is a neutral party who advocates for both spouses and facilitates the divorce. Some couples require numerous sessions to arrive at decisions involving assets, property, reasonable spousal support, or an appropriate parenting plan. Other couples conclude their process more quickly, and are able to confer among themselves and return to mediation to formalize their agreements.
Regardless of the length of mediation, the common denominator among mediated divorces is that the divorcing couple holds the power to guide a final judgment, not a judge or a lawyer. Once all terms are agreed upon and issues are resolved, the mediator drafts the divorce agreement, which both spouses review and sign. The couple can get divorced without ever seeing the inside of the courtroom.
Is mediation right for you? The decision to divorce and the process that ensues is not a decision to be made impulsively. If your heart wishes for the highest good for everyone, and your intention is one of peace, mediation just might be your right answer.
Robert (Bob) Good is an Ashland attorney specializing in both divorce litigation and mediation. With his 23 years of experience in family law, he can help divorce clients determine which avenue may be best for them – mediation or litigation. As a mediator, Bob Good emphasizes solution-oriented discussions and works with couples to reach a peaceful and affordable resolution of all of the issues at stake in the divorce.