Resolve Your Divorce Quickly with an Experienced Mount Pleasant Divorce Mediation Lawyer
Divorce can get expensive. Couples who disagree on everything will ultimately end up in court, with a judge deciding such critical issues as child custody, alimony, and the division of marital property. One way to keep your costs down is to find common ground on some (or all) issues and sign a settlement agreement.
At The Peck Law Firm, we have helped couples resolve disputes for over 30 years. Mediation is often a helpful process. Anyone divorcing in Mount Pleasant should be prepared for the judge to send them to mediation.
A Mediator Listens and Guides
Mediation involves discussing a dispute with a trained mediator. The mediator’s role is to be neutral and listen to each side explain what is important to them and why they can’t agree. But mediators aren’t passive. They can also suggest creative ways for resolving disputes and will nudge arguing couples toward agreement.
Couples divorcing in Charleston County can choose their own certified family court mediator. When they can’t agree, a judge will pick someone for them.
Mediation is Cheaper than Litigation
Typically, mediators charge around $250 per hour. This might sound like a lot. But you should compare the costs of mediation to litigation. If you can reach an agreement on issues without mediation, terrific!
But if you can’t, your alternative is to litigate a divorce all the way to trial. And most contested divorces cost at least $10,000—often several times more.
The Mediation Process
Mediation begins with each side talking to the mediator individually and in a private setting. The purpose of these talks is to find out how each side views the divorce and identify what they want in terms of child custody, finances, alimony, and other critical issues. This information is kept confidential.
Both sides and their lawyers ultimately come to a conference room to discuss the divorce face to face. A mediator can guide the discussion so that it is most productive.
Mediation can take only a couple hours or several days. Everything depends on the couple.
If you reach an agreement, then your mediator can reduce it to a written settlement agreement, which you sign before presenting to a judge.
No one can force you to agree to any proposal in mediation. In that sense, mediation is voluntary. But a judge might send you to at least try mediation, so you should make a good faith effort to reach compromise.
Most Couples Can Benefit from Mediation
Mediation has many advantages over litigation:
- Mediation lets you craft a divorce that works for you. A judge will simply decide the issue based on his or her opinion of what’s best.
- You can come up with creative solutions to certain issues like child custody that a judge might not think of.
- You can usually divorce much faster and move on with your life. You can begin dating sooner or possibly move to accept a new job opportunity now that your divorce is behind you.
- By reaching agreement with your spouse, you show you can work collaboratively. This helps set you up well to stick with the parenting plan.
- Your children can avoid the stress of a trial.
- Litigation involves lengthy discovery, which can include home visits and meetings with a child psychologist. You can save considerable time and money by reaching an agreement.
- Divorce is often a public process, whereas mediation is private.
Mediation is Not for Everyone
It might sound like mediation has all the advantages over litigation. It’s cheaper, faster, and lets couples move on with their lives.
Nonetheless, there are times to fight and refuse to compromise. For example, your spouse might be abusive to the children or a drug addict. You don’t want to endanger their safety by immediately agreeing to joint custody.
Further, your spouse might be completely unreasonable. A stay-at-home parent who gave up on job opportunities should request alimony to help get you back on your feet. Don’t give up this necessary support just to make your spouse happy.
Get the Most Out of Mediation
The Peck Law Firm has served as Mount Pleasant divorce mediation lawyers in many cases. Based on our experience, we recommend the following steps for making the most of your mediation experience.
- Spend time thinking about what you want. If you go into mediation blind, then you might agree to something you regret. You should identify what you want regarding child custody, child support, the division of marital assets and debts, as well as alimony.
- Look for an experienced family law mediator. Someone with years of experience has helped all sorts of couples and can rely on a deeper knowledge base.
- Share all requested information. The mediator will probably want to see financial records, business interests, and investment information. Be transparent and share all information requested. Hiding documents creates distrust.
- Set negative emotions to the side. Many couples distrust each other, especially when only one person is driving the divorce. You might feel anger, betrayal, or simple annoyance at having to be in the same room with your spouse. Put these emotions to the side.
- Listen carefully. You and your spouse might not really disagree on much, but you haven’t been listening to each other. Mediation is an opportunity to really hear your spouse. You might be surprised by how much you already agree.
- Be flexible. Mediation involves compromise. Because the mediator isn’t a judge, you can’t “win” in mediation. And it is highly unlikely your spouse will agree to all your demands. (If they did, mediation wouldn’t be necessary). Try to compromise.
- Avoid venting or attacking your spouse. Mediation is not a therapy session, and the mediator doesn’t decide which spouse has been wronged. Although venting might feel good in the moment, it can seriously impede mediation.
Contact Our Mount Pleasant Divorce Mediation Lawyer
The Peck Law Firm is proud to offer mediation services to clients considering divorce. We can explain more about our services in a confidential consultation. Please reach out today to discuss whether this is an option for you.