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Things to know when deciding if mediation is right for you

Divorce is difficult, even if it’s what you want. But whether litigating the issue is the best way to take care of it depends on your particular circumstances and goals.

Many couples seeking a divorce will instead turn to family mediation, which may be what is right for your family. But, what exactly is mediation and how do you decide if mediation is right?

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions surrounding mediation when settling a divorce.

1) Question: What is mediation? How is it different from a traditional court proceeding?

Answer: Mediation is less formal than a traditional court proceeding. A third party that both parties agree to assists in resolving issues at hand to ensure a fair divorce. The mediator facilitates communication between both parties in order to find common ground to come up with fair solutions.

2) Question: Who can be a mediator?

Answer: Contrary to popular belief, mediators aren’t always lawyers, although often times they are. Mediators can be individuals who aren’t involved in the legal field, such as mental health professionals. Any certified mediator will qualify.

However, it is up to both parties to decide which mediator is right for them. You will likely want a mediator who is familiar with Ohio state laws surrounding divorce and alimony. Lawyers can have ample experience in mediation sessions and their legal knowledge could streamline the process.

3) Question: How long does mediation take?

Answer: The short answer is it depends.

Like a traditional court proceeding, a variety of factors play into how long the proceeding will take. Factors that can determine how long a mediation session will take are based on the willingness of the parties to come together and reach a mutual agreement. If you have minor children with your spouse, you will need to discuss a parenting plan for custody and parenting time. Therefore, the duration of the session will depend on the types of conflicts that need to be resolved and the complexity of those issues.

While both parties may be fully committed to the process, legal procedures may extend the timeline of your divorce, just like a proceeding before the judicial system.

4) Question: What are the benefits to mediation?

Answer: Many couples choose mediation over litigation due to the time, expense, publicity and stress that litigation can involve. Courtrooms can add to the emotional stress the parties are facing and mediation can be a way to deescalate tension and resolve the issues amicably. While a judge will still need to approve the finalization of your divorce, mediation could limit the time you will ultimately spend in a courtroom. There are many other reasons divorcees decide to mediate, and it just depends on the goals of the individuals involved.

5) Question: How do I know if mediation is right for my situation?

Answer: When deciding if mediation is right for you, you should discuss the matter with the other party to see if they are willing to settle the matter before a neutral third party who isn’t a judge. Both parties must agree on a mediator and be willing to find common ground.

Whatever the case may be, it is important to know that you are not alone throughout the process. You should consider consulting with an experienced attorney on beginning the process of tying up loose ends that accompany a divorce. Whether you decide to go through the traditional court system or through a mediator, it is important to know your options and resolve the divorce fairly and efficiently.

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