Wealthy couples facing divorce often dread the prospect of a long, drawn-out and very public court proceeding, to say nothing of the expense.
Add the adverse effects on any young children of the union and the couple begins looking for alternatives. One option that has gained popularity is mediation.
A form of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, mediation is a much less time-consuming, less expensive form of divorce than litigation. It is also a private alternative because it takes place outside of court without a judge. The couple meets with an attorney trained in divorce mediation, a neutral third party who provides legal information and guidance as the participants work together to achieve a satisfactory divorce agreement.
A shorter process
On average, divorce litigation lasts about 18 months. Depending on the overall divorce process complexity, mediation sessions may last anywhere from a day to three months. Once the participants work out an agreement satisfactory to both, they file paperwork with the court, completing the divorce process. Because mediation is a considerably shorter option with less legal involvement compared to traditional divorce in court, it is also significantly less expensive.
Setting the foundation
Litigation can be acrimonious and leave parties feeling bitter toward one another. Animosity between parents also often carries over to the children. On the other hand, the mediator works to resolve conflict and guide parties toward workable solutions when disagreements and frustrations arise. Mediation is a respectful, civilized approach to divorce that sets the foundation for clear communications and effective co-parenting going forward. Studies show that mediation is much less stressful than litigation for everyone involved, especially children.
Not everyone qualifies
Not everyone qualifies for mediation. If a spouse has addiction issues that prevent compromise, if there is a history of violence in the marriage or if couples simply cannot agree on major points, this form of ADR may not work. However, even as a high-asset couple with relationship issues, mediation can still be a good option if you can commit to the process and believe you can work together to create a viable divorce agreement.