Divorce today is much different than it was for previous generations. In addition to the reduced social stigma, those who are going through a divorce now have choices. In the past, litigation was pretty much it. Now, alternate dispute resolution options like mediation are viable alternatives.
What is the difference between mediation and litigation?
Litigation can lead to a public courtroom battle while mediation is generally a private affair. Mediation uses a neutral third party to help those going through a divorce negotiate a divorce settlement agreement. Because it is just the two parties to the divorce and the mediator, the process generally takes less time compared to litigation. This also translates to a lower overall expense.
Two additional benefits of mediation over litigation include:
- Control. Since mediation does not involve a judge during negotiations, the parties to the divorce are in control of the final settlement agreement. A judge is not deciding what the agreement should say — you are.
- Flexibility. This last point is particularly important today, as we navigate the current coronavirus pandemic. Due to the flexibility of mediation, it can move forward through the use of virtual meetings and tele-conferences. This allows the divorce to move forward through completion while still respecting social distancing.
Because of these benefits, an agreement developed through mediation also generally results in an agreement that both parties are more likely to follow without the need for additional enforcement measures.
Does mediation result in a legally enforceable divorce agreement?
Yes. Once both parties sign an agreement, it is generally sent to the court. Once the court signs off on the agreement, it is legally enforceable.