Divorce Mediation and Arbitration

Is An Amicable Divorce Possible?

I have a friend who is in the beginning phases of getting a divorce. At first she thought it would be an amicable divorce, but from what I’m hearing, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be that easy. He wasn’t as interested in being as amicable as she was, so she requested mediation. Divorce can be such a sad, messy thing. I’ve been divorced, and it was one of the worst things I’ve ever been through. It hurt my four children, and it hurt my heart. I wish I had known about divorce mediation and arbitration back then.

Divorce mediation is basically just letting a third party listen to both sides, and help the two sides reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. With mediation, everything is done in a less formal setting than a courtroom, and everyone gets to retain their respect since both parties feel like they have a say in how things turn out. Dirty laundry isn’t aired out in an open courtroom for everyone who is attending to hear. It’s just the two parties and the mediator (or mediators if the two parties can’t agree on one). Mediators are successful lawyers who have many years of experience, but there is one flat price, opposed to an hourly cost.

After mediation, if the couples can’t find an amicable way to split things, that is where arbitration comes in. An arbitration hearing is held and both sides have to abide by the mediators decisions. The mediator can be the same mediator that was used in the mediation, or a different one. It is legally binding, however some things can be reviewed and revised later, like child support and custody cases. Sometimes things are easier to work out after a little time passes and feelings aren’t so raw. There is one flat price, which keeps it less expensive than going to court. Without arbitration, it’s possible that a divorce can take a very long time and, that can mean a lot of money. Since most lawyers charge by the hour, the longer a divorce drags out, the more it costs.

The biggest casualty in a divorce is most often the children. The fighting and arguing of a divorce, not only stress out and drain adults, it also takes a huge toll on their children. The parents first concern should always be the children, but that is not always the case. I’ve seen too many parents use their children, even long after a divorce. Arbitration helps focus on what is best for the children, and finding a compromise to accomplish that.

If I had known about divorce mediation and arbitration back when I got my divorce it might have helped. Unfortunately that was many years ago, and I don’t even know if it was available back then. I am glad that it is available now. Maybe it will help my friend and her husband figure out the whole thing.

Do you know anyone who has used divorce mediation and arbitration? What was the outcome?

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