Even under the best circumstances, divorce may be one of the hardest things you encounter in your life. The divorce process can have a tremendous financial impact, as well as an emotional one.
In Minnesota, mediation is often required as part of that process.
For many people, mediation is the last thing they want to do. It’s hard to sit down and come to an agreement with someone you’re ending a marriage with. However, there are many reasons to fully participate in divorce mediation.
#1. Minnesota Court Rules Call for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Under Minnesota law, every divorce (technically called “dissolution of marriage” in our state) requires both formal legal procedures and some type of settlement negotiations. The law states that the parties must attempt some form of alternative dispute resolution. Usually, this takes the form of mediation.
#2. Mediation Costs Less Than Litigation
Resolving matters reasonably through mediation means fewer overall costs. As you and your ex continue to disagree, you must continue to pay attorney’s fees and court costs. The more you can resolve upfront in mediation, the less you will need to pay your lawyers to argue about in an adversarial situation later.
#3. Mediation Gives You Control Over the Outcome
In mediation, you and your ex will sit down and come to an agreement about various issues in your divorce. You’ll make critical decisions about division of property, parenting time and your lives in the future. Mediation gives you control over these decisions, even if you have to make compromises. If you go to court, the decisions will be handed down by a judge. You give up control over what the final outcome will be.
#4. Divorce Mediation Can Be Less Stressful for Your Family
Mediation is generally thought to be easier on the people involved than a long court battle. Children see their parents working together to make decisions and communicating about their roles as parents. Spouses can move forward and focus on the future rather than rehashing the wrongs of the past. It’s not a perfect situation, and it’s not easy, but it’s often much easier than going to court for a series of hotly-contested hearings.
#5. Mediation Is a Great Way to Reach an Agreement When You’re at an Impasse
When negotiations between the parties and their lawyers reach an impasse, mediation can be a way for both parties to reach a reasonable agreement. In mediation, a third party neutral helps everyone settle on a common solution. The neutral mediator is professionally trained in helping you and your ex reach a compromise, and can implement strategies that may help you do so effectively when other strategies have failed.
Even if you don’t particularly want to engage in mediation, there are many reasons to do so in your divorce. If you think mediation might be an option, talking to a lawyer is the best way to discover whether it’s right for you.