If you and your spouse were married many years, and especially if you own a business together or have a high net worth, property division proceedings can be complex. There will no doubt be numerous relevant issues, including child custody, finances, and marital property, which you must resolve before you can achieve a settlement. Divorce can be challenging, but it need not be a knock-down, drag-out fight in a courtroom.
If you and your spouse are able to discuss important issues in a calm and focused manner, you might be able to use an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or mediation to settle your divorce. Couples who choose these options can still access legal advice from attorneys as needed. However, to avoid confrontation and litigation, they can agree to sign binding child custody, property division, and other settlement agreements in a private setting, with or without attorneys. Mediation is a very effective way to do this.
Mediated agreement versus imposed court order
It is understandable that you would want to have a say in your own divorce settlement. A contested and heavily litigated divorce can be emotionally and financially exhausting. It does not have to be that way. After working for years to pursue a career, build a business, or raise a family, there’s no reason why you cannot have some control over your custody or property agreement, with the court’s approval. This agreement is known as a “CR 2A settlement,” which allows you to enter agreed divorce orders, as opposed to having a judge impose things that sometimes neither party may appreciate.
Save time and money, and avoid stress through mediation
When you choose to mediate your divorce, you and your spouse agree to meet with an experienced mediator to discuss all issues related to the divorce. The goal is to cooperate and compromise to resolve differences, so that you can write out fair and reasonable terms of agreement. Handling a divorce settlement this way often enables you to save both time and money.
It is typically also a less stressful way to divorce, particularly if there are children involved. When children witness their parents working together to create a new family plan, it is much less likely that they will be traumatized by the changes that divorce brings to their lives.
You can mediate your divorce from separate or remote locations
Advanced technology enables you to mediate your divorce from a remote location if you so choose, such as using ZOOM, where virtual meeting rooms are created. Even in person, you and your spouse may opt for being in separate rooms and “shuttling” information back and forth through a mediator. If you want to use ADR or mediation to settle a divorce but feel that being in the same room with your spouse might stir conflict, this type of setting might be a viable option for you.
The bottom line is that you do not have to listen to all of the divorce horror stories you might hear about nasty courtroom battles and proceedings dragging on for months. You can choose another means of getting a divorce, one that enables you to keep your discussions private and to work out an agreement without stepping foot inside a Washington courtroom. For most couples, mediation is the answer.