Like many North Carolina couples who are considering divorce, you probably have enough conflict in your life right now. It is likely you and your spouse are not getting along, but you are also dealing with your parents, in-laws, mutual friends and even your children who are giving you grief about the end of your marriage. Anticipating a long, difficult legal battle is not an appealing prospect.
Fortunately, there are more civil ways of dissolving a marriage, and mediation is among the most popular and effective. Through mediation, you and your spouse can arrive at fair and satisfying resolutions to your conflicts without the pain and divisiveness of a trial.
How mediation can work for you
The mediation process begins when you and your spouse obtain individual legal counsel from attorneys who are supportive of alternative dispute resolution. Then you will find a neutral third party, a mediator, who will work as an intermediary as you and your spouse discuss each issue and work toward an agreement. It is not the mediator's job to make judgements or decisions for you. Instead, he or she keeps the discussion focused and may point out options you hadn't considered.
Some reasons why more couples are turning to mediation for their divorces include the following:
- Instead of a judge, you and your spouse have control of the process and the outcome.
- Mediation usually doesn't take as long as litigation.
- Because the process is shorter, it often saves money.
- No court reporter means the discussions are kept private.
- Couples avoid the contention and hurt litigation often produces.
Mediation is not for everyone. If you fear your spouse is hiding assets from you or has other secrets that you would benefit from knowing before divorcing, you may want to divorce using the traditional method where you can take advantage of the discovery phase, Additionally, it would be a mistake for you to attempt to negotiate with a spouse who has been controlling or abusive to you throughout your marriage. You likely won't have much chance for a fair settlement.
Because you will not have the benefit of the court system throughout the mediation process, it will be important to learn everything you can about the laws regarding divorce, child custody and support, and spousal support in the state of North Carolina. The more preparation you do with your attorney before sitting down at the table with your spouse and a mediator, the better the chance that you will enter your post-divorce life with your rights intact and your future full of hope.