Divorcing couples in Pennsylvania sometimes use mediation to resolve issues around child custody and property division. The mediation process takes place outside of court, so it can help to cut down on the amount of litigation that will be required in a divorce.
How does mediation work?
Mediation is a totally voluntary and non-legally binding process. The mediator’s goal is to help divorcing spouses reach mutual agreements with each other on divorce issues. Those agreements may later be turned into a final divorce settlement agreement that can be signed off by a judge.
A family law mediator is a completely neutral party that does not represent either spouse. However, the mediator should have a good understanding of what each party’s goals are so that they can help the divorcing couple to reach a compromise. The mediator cannot order spouses to do anything, so mediation sessions don’t always result in agreements.
Benefits of divorce mediation
There are a lot of benefits of using mediation over litigation. Mediation can cut down on legal expenses and prevent a divorce from becoming a stressful court battle. When children are involved, mediation can be especially beneficial as parents may decide to collaborate on a shared parenting agreement instead of fighting over custody in front of a judge. Another benefit of mediation is that it is completely private rather than being a matter of public record like court proceedings are.
Preparing for divorce mediation
If you have decided to mediate your divorce, you may be able to help the process go smoother by preparing ahead of time. Gathering all of your financial records and information about your marital and personal property is important. It’s also important to organize your mind ahead of mediation by writing down your wishes for property division and child custody so that the mediator will understand your goals.