Divorce mediation is a process through which a Massachusetts couple may end their marriage without resorting to litigation in court. A mediated divorce typically takes less time to complete than courtroom litigation because in most cases the parties to the mediation are willing to work together to end the marriage. However, when couples cannot work together to reach their common goal of divorce they can opt for a traditional litigated divorce.
If one spouse desires mediation and the other prefers to go to court, the parties may want to have a look at the pros and cons of mediation and the traditional courtroom route.
First, Mediated divorce may be faster and less expensive than litigated divorce. Second, mediation can help keep a lid on the kind of anger and resentment that so often goes along with a divorce in the adversarial courtroom setting. A more peaceful end to the marriage can be especially important for divorcing couples who have young children.
However, there are advantages to the courtroom setting, as well. For one, a court can compel testimony from a party who doesn’t wish to speak. Additionally, although a judge typically approves the agreement after a mediated divorce, a litigated divorce ends with a judge formally determining the outcome. based on the merits of the case.
Mediation requires a commitment from each party to work toward a fair settlement. In a highly acrimonious divorce, in which the parties can’t agree to even a place and time to negotiate, mediation is probably not going to work. In these cases, a judge may have to make decisions for the parties.
If the divorcing spouses can at least agree that they’d like to save time and money, they should at least investigate the possibility of mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods. Attorneys skilled in mediation and collaborative law can help Massachusetts residents to understand their options.