Divorcing couples throughout Oklahoma take advantage of alternative dispute resolution to avoid the expense and stress that divorce litigation typically generates. If you are planning to divorce soon, it’s essential to understand your options for navigating this process. Mediation offers several significant benefits and has become the most popular option for settling divorce throughout the US. However, it can entail some drawbacks depending on the circumstances and the divorcing spouses’ respective demeanors.
An experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney can be a great asset if you are unsure how to approach your case. In most situations, an Oklahoma divorce attorney will strongly encourage their client to explore alternative dispute resolution to avoid the expense and hassle of litigation. If you are bracing for divorce, it’s vital to know the potential benefits and possible drawbacks of mediation in your divorce.
Pros of Mediation
Many divorcing couples choose private mediation for several reasons:
- Mediation offers significant savings of time and money. It’s a more streamlined process than litigation and requires much less time, meaning both spouses ultimately pay much less in legal fees.
- Mediation keeps your divorce private. When you litigate, everything said in court enters the public record, and virtually anyone can look up transcripts from public court sessions. If you prefer to keep your divorce proceedings private, mediation is the best option.
- When you mediate your divorce, you have much more control over the outcome. If you litigate, the final say in every aspect of your divorce rests in the hands of the judge. Mediation allows you to achieve a result that aligns more closely with your individual preferences and goals.
- Mediated agreements are much more likely to encourage compliance than litigated divorce orders. When you and your spouse have more personal involvement in the process of reaching a divorce agreement, you are both less likely to need to return to the issue later through post-judgment modification.
- If you litigate your divorce, the options available in each facet of the case hinge entirely on state laws. Mediation, by comparison, ensures you have more flexibility when it comes to reaching agreeable terms to your divorce.
- It’s possible to take advantage of mediation for parts of your divorce and then move to litigation to settle the rest. For example, you and your spouse may be able to negotiate property division and alimony but be unwilling to compromise on child custody. You can settle what you can through mediation before moving to court to handle the rest.
These are the main reasons so many divorcing couples in Oklahoma choose mediation. Even if you think your divorce involves highly complex issues, or if you and your spouse constantly fight and you do not think a civil discussion is possible, it is still worth taking advantage of the potential benefits of mediation. However, this form of alternative dispute resolution does entail drawbacks in some situations.
Potential Cons of Mediation
Mediation does not always prove fruitful in every divorce case. One of the biggest possible drawbacks of mediation is that the process may ultimately prove to be pointless when the divorcing spouses are entirely entrenched in their negotiating positions and have no intention of compromising with one another. Mediation requires both spouses to be willing to negotiate. If they cannot meet this prerequisite, mediation will fail.
Other potential drawbacks to mediation are more case-specific. For example, some divorce cases may require the establishment of legal precedent or involve highly complex issues such as high net worth assets. If a divorce involves business interests of one or both spouses and their business has a strict “no compromise” rule, this may come into play and prevent effective mediation.
Working With Your Divorce Attorney
Even if you and your spouse are bitterly opposed to one another’s interests and mediation initially seems impossible, the reality is that effective legal counsel can still help you take advantage of the benefits mediation can offer. For example, suppose you and your spouse are entirely unable to negotiate in person due to your issues. In that case, your respective attorneys can relay communications between the two of you and your chosen mediator. Some divorcing spouses are more open to negotiation when they don’t need to do it in person, so consult your attorney concerning the best potential approaches to divorce mediation.
Ultimately, mediation tends to offer more benefits than drawbacks. The main requirement for mediation to succeed is both parties’ willingness to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to their divorce. If you are unsure whether mediation would be the best option for handling your divorce, consult an experienced Oklahoma divorce lawyer to start devising your strategy.