Using mediation as an alternative to traditional MA court litigation

Mediation is becoming a popular alternative to traditional court divorce, and may be beneficial for many couples seeking divorce.

More than half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, according to statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although filing for divorce is not uncommon in Massachusetts and the rest of the nation, the process of dissolving a marriage is not 'one size fits all.' Traditionally, couples litigated the terms of their divorce settlement in court. Mediation has increased in popularity through the years as a non-confrontational alternative to court litigation.

Mediation is not ideal for every couple going through a divorce. People who are unable to discuss and negotiate the terms of their settlement may be better going through a more formal litigation process. People who can discuss topics, such as property division, child custody, child support and alimony in a civil fashion may want to consider mediation.

What is mediation?

Mediation sessions take place out of court, and in a more laid-back setting. Couples can negotiate the details of their divorce settlement under the direction of a third-party mediator. Mediators are neutral and cannot give any personalized legal advice. They can, however, answer any general questions regarding the settlement and help to direct the negotiation session.

When a couple comes together for mediation, they must fully disclose all of the information pertinent to the case. Both parties must be willing to reach an agreement. If couples fail to make an agreement during the mediation process, their case may be taken to court.

Advantages of mediation

When compared to traditional court litigation, mediation has several advantages. The American Bar Association lists the following advantages:

  • More affordable: There are no court costs associated with mediation, making it less costly.
  • Quicker: Couples are able to schedule the mediation sessions themselves, rather than have to wait for a court date.
  • Better compliance: Studies show that couples who have a say when creating a divorce settlement are more compliant with the terms of the decree.
  • Less stress: Since mediation takes place out of court, couples often feel less stressed during the negotiations process.

Furthermore, many couples leave the divorce on better terms than they would have had they undergone a vicious court battle. Business partners and parents, who must maintain a relationship following the divorce, may find this extremely beneficial.

Partnering with an attorney

Attorneys are not present during mediation sessions. Yet many people find it helpful to speak with an attorney before and after the mediation process. A lawyer in Massachusetts may ensure that all of your rights are upheld and that you receive everything that you are entitled to in the divorce settlement.

Keywords: divorce, mediation, litigation