How Is Mediation Different From Litigation?
Mediation gives you a lot of power over your divorce. Instead of having to follow the lead of a judge, you can guide discussions and direct the choices made. You and your spouse work together to resolve issues and cleanly separate your lives.
You and your spouse will choose the mediator you work with, which is much different from a court situation where you never get a choice in judges. You drive the negotiations and the talks about important issues, including spousal support, child custody, property division and child support. In court, the judge makes all the decisions and will often rule on these topics according to the law with only some consideration of your wants and needs.
In the end, with mediation, you have the ability to reach a settlement that is agreeable for both you and your spouse. You may be able to do things in ways a judge couldn’t due to having to follow the law. While the end result is usually a fair settlement in both situations, how you get there is often less stressful through mediation than it is through the courtroom.
What Role Does the Mediator Play?
The mediator is not like a judge at all except that he or she does keep things on task and is neutral. Your mediator acts more as a go-between agent. He or she encourages communications and uses his or her skills to help you through difficult discussions.
Your mediator will provide solutions and may also call in experts to assist with especially difficult situations. For example, if you and your spouse are having a hard time creating a parenting plan, the mediator may invite a family counselor or a social worker into the session to help you.
The mediator cannot provide any legal advice. He or she will never take sides either. The mediator does not represent either you or your spouse, which is why most people will also have an attorney in El Dorado Hills, CA.
What Is My Role During Mediation?
Your main role during mediation is to work with your spouse. You have to be open-minded and be ready to compromise. It is essential that you approach every session with a willingness to communicate clearly and listen attentively.
You also must be honest. You should put aside emotions and be ready to focus on the task at hand. It is also your responsibility to know what you want so you can express your desires in a clear and concise manner while also explaining your position.
How Long Will It Take?
The mediation process involves multiple sessions. In each session, you will tackle the various things you need to figure out as you separate your lives. You will need multiple sessions, but exactly how many you need is dependent on a few things:
- How much you disagree on points
- If you have special circumstances
- How good you are at communicating
- If anyone is acting stubborn
- If there are hidden assets that come up
The process usually will be shorter than the time it takes to go through litigation. The average time is two to three sessions that last about two hours each. The entire mediation process often spans a few months, at least.