Arizona is home to many married couples who will divorce this year or at some time in the future. In fact, divorce has become so common in the United States that you would likely consider it far rarer to not know someone who has been through divorce than to know two, three or more people who have. Your personal priorities regarding your upcoming divorce may or may not be similar to someone else you know who has navigated the process.
If one or more people have suggested that you try mediation rather than litigating your divorce, you’ll want to research the potential advantages and disadvantages of this alternative negotiation method before determining if it’s a viable option for your situation. Friends and family members who have used mediation to settle their divorces are among many valuable resources you can tap into for experienced guidance and support.
Reasons you may want to try mediation
If you’re a parent, you may relate to many other Arizona parents whose children’s best interests were their main priority in divorce. While you may no longer wish to have an intimate relationship with the person you married, you also understand that as parents of the same children, you will always be connected. The following list includes benefits to mediation that help you focus on your children’s needs:
- Mediation sessions are confidential. It is easier to discuss private parenting matters when you’re not in a public courtroom.
- You can create your own co-parenting plan and seek the court’s approval rather than depend on a judge to decide your custody and visitation issues.
- Whether you’ll be a custodial or non-custodial parent, finances are a critical factor in divorce that includes children. Mediation is typically the less expensive way to go.
If you and your spouse are fairly like-minded when it comes to parenting issues, you may be able to accomplish your co-parenting agreement goals in a few sessions’ time without the need for court’s intervention.
Issues that might suggest mediation is not a good option for you
Alternate negotiation methods are definitely not for everyone. If one or more of the following apply to your situation, you may want to explore other options for your divorce:
- You wish it to be a matter of permanent record that your spouse’s infidelity or abusive behavior is a main factor of your divorce. Since you can’t mention past marital issues like these during mediation sessions, litigation may be a better option for someone in your situation.
- You suspect your spouse is trying to stash cash or otherwise hide assets to keep them from being subject to property division. Because you do not bring written documentation of assets disclosure to mediation sessions, it may be more difficult to catch your spouse in the act of hiding assets, which is illegal, by the way.
- If you’re stressed out by the idea of speaking for yourself during settlement negotiations, you may want to choose litigation, where you can ask an experienced attorney to speak and act on your behalf.
If you’re not 100 percent certain which option is best for you but think you might want to try mediation, it’s possible to do so, then change your mind. If, at any point during the mediation process, you determine it necessary to litigate your divorce, a savvy lawyer can help you proceed in a different manner toward a brighter future.