Mediated divorces provide an independent, often more amicable alternative to traditional litigated divorce. Mediation can happen in-person or virtually, and both people work together with a neutral third party, the mediation, to reach a mutually agreeable settlement.
Mediation can be a happy medium for couples who don’t want to go to court and don’t feel equipped to handle the interworkings of their divorce on their own.
Mediation tends to cost less than litigating and can wrap up the divorce process faster as well. So, how long does divorce mediation last exactly? That depends on four factors unique to each case.
Factors That Impact Mediation Length
The four most important considerations that impact how long it will take to wrap up your mediated divorce are your assets, issues in question, children, and willingness to compromise.
It’s logic – the more assets you have, the more you have to divide, and the longer the process will take. A younger couple with one house, two cars, and no kids will likely finish their mediated divorce faster than an older couple that has accumulated a varied portfolio of financial assets, several homes, a collection of cars, and three children.
A divorcing couple that agrees on how most things should be handled – or a couple going into mediation with a prior signed prenuptial agreement – will have fewer issues to debate and negotiate than couples who agree on very little. Additionally, some problems may relatively quick to settle while others may prove thorny, complex, and time-consuming.
Child custody will make a big impact on the length of your divorce mediation. It’s common for parents to struggle more with decisions related to their kids than anything else, like possessions or assets.
If you have kids, a large portion of your mediation time may be spent discussing the benefits and disadvantages of various custody arrangements and parenting plans. While this can delay the final settlement arrangement, time spent discussing the best interests of the children to land on a plan that works for everyone is always time well spent during mediation.
Each party’s willingness to compromise also plays a big role in how simple it is to wrap up. A mediator is a neutral part and won’t tell either side what to do or force compromise. Instead, their role is to facilitate communication and negotiations to help both sides arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.
If both parties are stubborn and unwilling to compromise, it will be challenging to reach a solution until both parties are willing to find a common ground. On the other hand, if you come in determined to find something that works best for everyone, things can move along quickly.
Value of a Good Mediator
An experienced divorce mediator can help keep conversations productive so that divorcing couples can reach compromises and agreements efficiently. Since the primary expense of a mediated divorce is the mediator’s time, keeping common goals in mind and a willingness to find a middle ground will keep costs low and help things move along.
To begin your mediated divorce with an experienced mediator skilled in finding amicable and agreeable settlements in even the most contentious cases, reach out to Natalie Baird at Natalie Baird Mediations.