The role of mediation in your North Carolina divorce
Some divorces are contentious. In those cases, the parties might not be able to get past the stress, anger and emotions they are feeling or come to an agreement about any of the major issues. Those are the types of divorce cases that end up in court, usually resulting in a prolonged, expensive legal fight that can last for years and result in thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
Not every North Carolina divorce needs to be like that, though. It is possible to end a marriage without a lengthy “battle” that leaves the spouses angry, resentful and hurt. It is even possible for a couple to come through a divorce being friends, starting fresh while remaining dedicated to co-parenting their children with grace and cooperation.
You might wonder how that is possible, and you might doubt that you could be in this situation. Thankfully, there are legal methods that, instead of encouraging contention, actually encourage cooperation between divorcing spouses. By using these methods, which are much less confrontational and adversarial than traditional litigated divorces, you can close the door on your marriage while opening a new chapter in your life in a positive way.
One of the most useful alternative resolution methods for family law disputes is mediation. Mediation involves a neutral third party, the mediator, tasked with guiding the divorcing couple toward solutions on any disputed issues. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, a mediator doesn’t make the ultimate decision for the parties, but instead facilitates their agreement and, after hearing all the facts and desires of both parties, helps them find a “middle ground” they can both accept.
In addition to fostering a more positive relationship between the two, mediation has other benefits as well. It is typically much less expensive than traditional divorce litigation, and it is usually much quicker, meaning that you can move on and get back to your life as soon as possible. Also, the mediation process is private, with no public record, so your family’s most intimate details aren’t aired in open court.
Another, relatively new, alternative resolution method used around North Carolina is collaborative divorce. This process has elements of both litigation and mediation. Instead of having a single person like a mediator guiding the parties, collaborative divorce typically involves each person being represented by his or her own counsel. In addition, collaborative divorce usually involves the assistance of various experts (like financial planners, home appraisers, therapists and others) to find solutions that work for the entire family.
Regardless of the method you use, being able to make your own decisions about key issues like child custody, child support and property distribution will result in a more workable divorce settlement with which you can easily comply. You also have the satisfaction of knowing that the settlement was created by you and your former spouse working together, something that can engender a positive relationship in the future. If you still have questions about mediation or other alternative methods for your divorce, seek the advice of a skilled North Carolina family law attorney today.