Perhaps you have researched and learned about mediation. Perhaps your mother’s neighbor’s uncle swears it is the best divorce method. Perhaps you are just now hearing about mediation for the first time. Whatever it is, John R. Foley, P.C. is here to help. 

Mediation is a popular way to divorce for many reasons (most of which are outlined in this blog), but that does not mean it is for everyone. It is important to meet with a family lawyer, discuss your case, your needs and wants, and arrive at a solution that is ideal for you and your family. Here in Dearborn, you can find that family lawyer at John R. Foley, P.C. We have a team of family lawyers who can discuss your case with you and help you arrive at a decision about mediation. And if you do choose to move forward with mediation? Well, we can help with that too. Attorney John R. Foley is a licensed mediator with more than 20 years of experience.

Learn more about our family law firm, get to know our family lawyers, learn more about family law, and contact us today to schedule a consultation in Dearborn.

What Is Mediation?

First and foremost, let’s cover what mediation is. At first glance of the word, many people will think it is meeting with a therapist to try and “save” the marriage; this is incorrect. Mediation is a structured process where an impartial third party assists in resolving conflict through communication and negotiation. 

Essentially, this looks like you and your divorcing spouse sitting in a room with a licensed mediator to determine the outcome of the divorce (division of assets, child custody, spousal support, etc.).

Mediation is commonly referred to as alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

What Is Required for Mediation?

Mediation is an option for many divorcing couples. Here is what is required if you are interested in mediation for your divorce:

  • You and your spouse are both willing to attend and participate in mediation. 

    • Mediation is not an option if only one party wants it.
  • You and your spouse are both willing to be transparent and negotiate in good faith.

    • Both of you will need to openly disclose all relevant information and ensure its accuracy to the best of your knowledge.
  • You and your spouse are both interested in making your own decisions.

    • A mediator does not provide legal advice, so both parties must be comfortable making their own decisions. However, a mediator will identify the relevant issues to your divorce case.
  • You and your spouse are both mentally capable of making your own decisions.

    • If either you or your spouse are mentally incapacitated in any way, then mediation is not a viable option for your divorce.

Mediation Can Benefit Children

Divorce is difficult no matter how you spin it. It can bring about a large change in your support system, finances, and more — even if divorce is good for your current situation. All this considered, though, it can be even harder on your children at times.

As your children are exposed to a long, drawn-out divorce process — with everything from phone calls and arguments to appearing in court — they can force a lot of anxiety, stress, and even depression. They can be left thinking it is their fault. They can have a hard time knowing if they should “side” with a specific parent. 

Mediation, however, puts your children first. Divorce mediators recognize that you are parents and help you move through the divorce process quietly, quickly, and smoothly so that you and your children can both move on. Check out 7 Tips for Talking to Children About Divorce and Custody for more information.

Mediation Is Less Formal

Divorce is difficult enough as it is. If you are also stressed about what to wear, what to bring, where to be, and when to be there, then the traditional court system may not be for you. By choosing mediation instead, you can have a divorce process that is less stuffy, formal, and impersonal. Having divorce proceedings that are “less formal” may not seem like an immediate advantage that you crave — but it certainly will be when you do not have to deal with court formalities that can easily be avoided through mediation.

Mediation Is More Affordable

Very quickly, divorce can get extremely costly. The April 2013 issue of The Wall Street Journal claimed that the average cost for an amicable divorce is between $27,000 and $32,000. Other divorces that are not as amicable can cost upward of $100,000. In fact, one of the reasons Dearborn family lawyer John R. Foley chose to become a mediator is the financially debilitating consequences of litigation. 

With mediation, you can avoid those high costs. The average cost of mediation is between $5,000 and $10,000, and this is split between the two parties since there is only one mediator.

Mediation is so much more cost-effective for a few reasons:

  • You work with one mediator instead of two divorce attorneys
  • All communication happens in one place and there is no back and forth between divorce lawyers
  • Mediation is typically faster, which means you pay for less time
  • Both parties are generally trying to find a solution quickly instead of divorce attorneys fighting to “win”

Many people and family lawyers will cite affordability as one of the biggest reasons to choose mediation over the traditional divorce process. Looking for tips about divorce and finances? Check out 8 Financial Tips When Going Through a Divorce.

Mediation Is More Flexible

The flexibility of mediation goes hand-in-hand with its decreased formality. Instead of being told where to show up and when, mediation is a collaborative process with you, your divorcing spouse, and your mediator. You can select a day and time that works for all three of you, which allows you to make sure your children are getting the attention they need during your separation. Additionally, online divorce mediation may even be an option. If, for example, you and your divorcing spouse cannot meet with your mediator at a certain location and time, then perhaps you can complete the meeting over a video conference call. Of course, this will depend on your mediator and the overall needs for your case.

Mediation Is Private and Confidential

The family law court is a public forum, meaning anyone and everyone could be present for your divorce case. This allows intimate details of your relationship to be aired for anyone to hear. If you are a very private person and this makes you uncomfortable — or if you are concerned with certain details about your divorce and relationship getting out — then you may feel relieved at the privacy and confidentiality of mediation.

You may never have to appear in court. Your mediator will handle all paperwork, document signing, and filing. Your privacy is ensured. You will meet in a mutually agreed-upon location that is private and comfortable. When your divorce is finalized, the court will receive the agreed-upon divorce details and nothing else. So, all in all, the only people who will know the details will be you, your divorcing spouse, and your mediator.

Mediation Offers More Control

When you work with a family lawyer, you have a certain degree of control over the situation. However, once attorneys are fighting over your assets, custody, spousal support, and more, you have essentially lost control. Sure, you may trust your family lawyer to work hard and arrive at the best solution, but that is no guarantee. With mediation, on the other hand, you and your divorcing spouse have full control over the process and the outcome. This can be empowering and help you to feel confident in the divorce outcome as you move forward. 

Mediation Promotes Communication

After your divorce, you and your ex-partner will still be in each other’s lives if you have children. As you negotiate parenting time, it is vital that you two have good communication with each other. This will benefit your children, your schedules, and your stress levels. If you complete the entire divorce process with healthy communication and the skills of a mediator, then you will learn more about how to be open and communicative with each other. This will be instrumental in helping your communication long after the divorce is finalized. In 6 Tips for Responsibly Handling Joint Custody, we discuss the importance of good communication further.

Mediation Takes Less Time

Balancing overwhelmed city court schedules, your schedule, your divorcing spouse’s schedule, and two divorce lawyers’ schedules is difficult. This, on top of family lawyers working on multiple cases at once, can lead to divorce proceedings that can take much longer than expected (sometimes up to several years). This is time you cannot move on emotionally, your finances are tied-up, and your stress levels are high. Mediation can be completed in as few as two or three months if both parties are cooperative. With mediation, you do not have to coordinate schedules with other divorce attorneys, judges, or other players in the case; there is simply you, your divorcing spouse, and your mediator. You can increase the amount of time taken to allow more time for thinking through what you want or you can easily move faster in order to ensure a quick and speedy divorce.

Mediation Is Typically Less Stressful

When you add all of these different factors together, you get a divorce that benefits your children, is less formal, costs less money, is more flexible, offers increased privacy, allows more control, promotes communication, and takes less time. All of this is, undeniably, a much less stressful scenario than costly litigation that continues for years and emotionally hurts you and your children immensely. Of course, there is the chance that mediation is not for you. Our family lawyers can walk you through your options and help you determine if mediation would, in fact, be less stressful in your specific situation.

Meet With a Mediator or Family Lawyer in Dearborn Today

No matter what you choose, we at John R. Foley, P.C. in Dearborn hope you can arrive at a solution that is best for you and your family and that the divorce process is as painless as possible for you. Our family lawyers have seen many individuals thrive during mediation. If you think working with a mediator could be for you, then contact us today. If you are unsure, then we can work with you too! Whether you are interested in mediation, traditional divorce, or simply learn more, our family lawyers can help. John R. Foley has been a mediator since 1995 and our family law firm is here to help you succeed. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a family lawyer in Dearborn.