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When is Divorce Mediation Appropriate

Divorce mediation in Minnesota is a great solution for a couple who is divorcing and who want to avoid a litigated divorce.  In a litigated divorce, a judge decides issues related to dividing assets, paying spousal and child support, and child custody. Going to court, presenting arguments and having a judge make decisions can be very expensive, very time consuming, very acrimonious and can result in a divorce settlement agreement that no one is happy with.  Avoiding a litigated divorce, therefore, should be a top priority for everyone who is ending a marriage.

Avoiding a litigated divorce means coming to an agreement with your spouse on the key issues in your divorce. If you are able to decide how property should be divided, how much support should be paid and what happens to the kids, then your divorce attorney can simply draft a settlement agreement for you and the agreement can be given effect by the judge when he dissolves your marriage.  However, the trick, of course, is actually being able to work with your spouse and come to such an agreement.  A mediator will help.

Will Mediation Work for Your Divorce?

A mediator provides you with help negotiating a divorce, but a mediator does NOT resolve issues for you. In other words, the mediator does not take sides or tell you what to do. The mediator remains neutral and facilitates open communication to increase the chances of an agreement being reached.   A mediator also does not have some of the powers that a judge has, like subpoenaing witnesses or holding a spouse in contempt of court for refusal to turn over financial documents necessary to come to an agreement.

Mediation, therefore, is not appropriate for every divorce situation. A mediation is appropriate if:

  • You and your spouse are both committed to resolving the issues in the divorce. If you are not both willing to work together, put aside anger and come to an agreement, then mediation is just a waste of time and money.
  • You and your spouse have made saving money and avoiding acrimony a priority. Mediation can be much less expensive than litigation and the process of mediation is collaborative rather than adversarial. If you and your spouse are committed to doing whatever it takes to stay out of court and resolve your issues, then mediation may be the right choice for you.
  • You and your spouse are both open about all of your financial information. You need to have an understanding of exactly what assets need to be divided in order to mediate your divorce. The mediator cannot compel you to turn over info so you both have to be willing to share it voluntarily.

If these things are true, then mediation may be the right choice for you. You should be sure to find an experienced family law and divorce attorney who is experienced in mediated divorces to help you through the process and ensure that your legal rights are protected.