How To Settle Your Divorce At Mediation


Settling Your Divorce: The Benefits of Mediation

Divorce can be a stressful and emotional process, but it doesn't have to be a long and drawn-out courtroom battle. It is estimated that about 90% of divorce cases settle before ever going to trial. One of the most effective ways to resolve a divorce is through mediation.

So, what exactly is mediation, and why should you consider it?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps divorce couples reach an agreement outside of court. This allows the couple to have more control over the outcome of their case instead of leaving it in the hands of a judge.

The benefits of mediation are numerous. First and foremost, it allows both parties to have a say in the outcome of their divorce. Unlike in court, where a judge only hears a limited amount of evidence and makes decisions based on that, mediation allows the couple to discuss and negotiate all aspects of their divorce. This can lead to more creative and personalized solutions that meet the specific needs and desires of the family.

Not only does mediation give the couple more control, but it also allows for a more efficient and cost-effective resolution. Litigation can be expensive, with both parties raising hefty attorney fees and expert costs. In mediation, the couple only has to pay for the mediator's time, which is often significantly less than the cost of going to court.

Mediation can also lead to a quicker resolution than going through the court system. Court hearings can be scheduled months in advance and last several days. In contrast, mediation typically takes place within a few weeks or months of being requested.

Another major benefit of mediation is that it helps reduce conflict between the couple, which can be especially beneficial if children are involved. Divorces can quickly become contentious, with both parties fighting for what they believe they deserve. In mediation, the couple is encouraged to work together in a cooperative and non-adversarial manner. This can lead to a more amicable and peaceful resolution in the children's best interest.

Mediation also offers a more private and confidential setting than a courtroom. In court, all conversations and evidence are a matter of public record, which may not be desirable for some individuals. In mediation, the couple has more control over what information is shared and can keep certain details private.

So, how does mediation work?

Typically, both parties will have their attorney present during the mediation process, but they also have the option to attend on their own if they wish. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator, guiding the conversation and helping the couple find common ground. The mediator does not make any decisions for the couple but helps them agree.

The process usually begins with each party giving an opening statement, where they can express their wants and needs for the divorce's outcome. From there, the mediator will facilitate discussions and negotiations between the couple until they reach an agreement on all issues, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets.

Once an agreement is reached, it is put into writing and signed by both parties. This agreement is binding and can be submitted to the court for approval. If mediation cannot reach an agreement, either party can still choose to go to trial.

Tips for a Successful Mediation

Staying Flexible and Open-Minded

Flexibility and a willingness to consider different perspectives are key. Being open to alternative solutions can help reach an agreement that satisfies both parties.

Prioritizing Key Issues Over Minor Disputes

Focus on what truly matters, such as the well-being of children and financial stability, rather than getting bogged down by minor issues.

Being Prepared to Compromise

Compromise is essential in mediation. Both parties should be ready to make concessions to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Keeping the Focus on Long-Term Well-Being

Consider the long-term impact of decisions rather than short-term gains. A fair and sustainable agreement will serve both parties better in the future.

Utilizing the Mediator’s Guidance

Trust the mediator’s expertise. Their guidance can help navigate difficult discussions and keep the process on track.

After Mediation: Next Steps

Reviewing and Finalizing the Settlement Agreement

Once an agreement is reached, it should be reviewed thoroughly to ensure all details are covered. Both parties should understand and agree to the terms.

Legal Procedures to Finalize the Divorce

File the settlement agreement with the court to make it legally binding. This step typically involves a final hearing, during which a judge reviews and approves the agreement.

Adjusting to Post-Divorce Life

Adjusting to life after divorce involves both emotional and practical changes. To navigate this transition, seek support from friends, family, or professionals.


Mediation offers a constructive way to settle a divorce, focusing on collaboration and mutual benefit. By preparing effectively, communicating openly, and prioritizing long-term well-being, couples can reach a fair and sustainable agreement. Consider mediation as a path to a more amicable and less stressful divorce process.

Additional Resources

For further reading and support, consider the following resources:

  • Books: "The Complete Guide to Mediation" by Forrest Mosten
  • Websites:, American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution
  • Organizations: Association for Conflict Resolution, National Association for Community Mediation

By utilizing these resources, couples can gain deeper insights and find additional support to navigate the mediation process successfully.

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