In recent years mediation has become a popular option for division of property following a divorce. This is mostly due to the added expense of a drawn out court process that ultimately ends in a stranger dividing up your belongings.
Instead of letting a judge divide property between you and your ex, in a way that may seem unfair, mediation allows both of you to sit down with a third party and come to an arrangement that you feel is the most fair.
What is mediation?
Mediation offers an alternative to going to court to settle a dispute. The process involves sitting down with a neutral third party and reaching an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.
Why should mediation be chosen over a court settlement?
Bringing your dispute before a judge can be a very lengthy and expensive process due to the required procedures that must be followed. Also, because the legal system is adversarial, there is typically a winner and loser once the proceedings come to a close.
Mediation provides an alternative route for both parties to come to a more equitable resolution. While the neutral third party, the mediator, oversees the settlement, it is up to you and your former spouse to provide terms on which you both agree.
If I decide to use mediation, do I still need a lawyer?
Typically, lawyers are not permitted to attend mediation sessions. However, a lawyer can be a valuable asset during the process in order to provide counsel on any interim agreements before you sign.
Another reason to retain a lawyer during mediation is that mediators cannot provide any legal advice or interpret the law. A lawyer will be able to provide these services and ensure that your interests are being protected before you finalize any agreements.
If you are engaged in divorce proceedings and are concerned about the fair division of property, it is important to know your options. For advice in such a situation, contact an attorney with family law experience.