An increasing number of couples are choosing to pursue mediation as a way for resolving their differences on such matters as property division and child custody instead of fighting it out in court.
A mediator may ask divorcing spouses about their finances and what they believe is a fair resolution in their case. If kids are involved, then the role of the mediator may shift to encouraging both parents to discuss their individual or family goals, what's in the best interests of the kids and the best options for getting there.
There's no typical type of agreement that is reached in mediation, but instead, they tend to be unique to each family and their own individual set of circumstances.
When kids are involved, discussions are often focused on getting each party to become more effective as co-parents. Litigation, in contrast, is more one-sided where an attorney fights to argue for their client's wishes to the detriment of the other parent. Mediation doesn't typically involve any expert testimony, testifying or hearings.
Couples that attempt to resolve their divorces through mediation typically do so within three to five months, whereas those who pursue litigation may spend as long as one to two years attending hearings before any resolution is reached.
Agreements drafted during mediation don't ultimately have to be adopted by either spouse if they're not comfortable with what it says. Couples who try unsuccessfully to negotiate the end of their marriage in mediation can ultimately choose litigation if mediation didn't go as expected for them. Any ruling a judge makes is binding though.
Mediation isn't the ideal solution for just anyone. If both spouses are in two distinct bargaining positions, one has a substance abuse problem or one has been emotionally or physically abused, then it may not be ideal for them. If a couple is looking to amicably move forward with their lives and co-parent their kids, then it may be right for them. A Fort Myers divorce mediation attorney can advise you whether it's ideal for your situation.