As you embark on your divorce, one common question people have is if mediation could work for them. Mediation is an alternative to litigation. It is a type of alternative dispute resolution.

For many couples, mediation provides a way to work through disputes and different aspects of the divorce without having to worry about litigation. It creates a safe place to discuss divorce while encouraging both parties to work together to open lines of communication and resolve disputes amicably.

There are times when mediation is and is not advised. Here are some things to consider if you’re trying to decide if mediation is right for you.

Should you choose mediation?

Mediation works best for couples who are able to come together to talk through disputes. If you have concerns about child custody, property division and alimony, all of these things can be handled during mediation. Mediation is more collaborative and cooperative than litigation or arbitration, so it can be a good way to work through your differences in a relaxed atmosphere.

When isn’t mediation advised for a couple?

There are times when mediation is not advisable. For example, mediation may not be advised if:

  • You are trying to send a “message” to your spouse by refusing offers or attempts at settling
  • Your spouse refuses to speak with you or consider coming to a mediation session
  • You would prefer to ask for help from a jury because of the belief that the jury would award you more than if you were to compromise and settle with your spouse
  • There is abuse or harassment taking place currently that makes it dangerous for the couple to be together for mediation sessions

Mediation doesn’t work for every situation, but it can work for couples who are willing to put in the time and negotiate. Mediation can save time and money compared to litigation, and it can help you move forward with your divorce faster in many cases.

You should know that mediation is not binding. As a result, it is possible for you or the other party to reject the agreement you make at the end of the session. For this reason, it’s advised to have your attorneys present, so that they can draw up legal documents for you to sign immediately upon agreement. Then, there is no chance of your spouse changing their mind and altering the agreement later on without a court’s intervention.