Divorce mediation is a process that is designed to help both sides in a divorce come to an agreement. Mediation can save time and money and help the parties involved settle the case out of court. The process can cover a variety of issues, including child custody, child support, alimony and division of property and debt.
Divorce mediation is not right for every case. Mediators can help both sides reach a settlement agreement when both sides are willing to be reasonable and honest. In some cases, emotions are running too high, or one of the parties is not willing to be honest about factors such as income. A divorce mediator does not have the same power that a judge does in some instances, such as authority to compel production of financial records.
It is a good idea to consult professionals when going through a divorce. Some mistakes in a divorce decree cannot be changed later on. A mediator is different from a lawyer, because a lawyer advocates for one party's position in a case, while a mediator tries to help the parties reach a compromise. Mediation can help both sides in a contested case reach an agreement that they can live with. Going through litigation can be risky, as a judge gets to make all the final decisions regarding major issues, and both sides can be left unhappy with the final outcome.
A lawyer may be able to assist clients who wonder if the mediation process is right for them. A lawyer can help explain the goals of mediation, disadvantages and costs and whether mediation would likely to be productive in a particular case. A lawyer can also help select a mediator who has the right experience to help in a particular case.