Divorce is surely one of the most stressful experiences that any person can go through during their lifetime. The emotional, mental, and physical effects of separating from someone with whom you built a life, and in many cases a family, can be overwhelming. For many couples, one of the top priorities during a divorce is to complete the process as quickly and as painlessly as possible. When the spouses share that perspective, mediating a divorce is often a better option than the prolonged and expensive process of a divorce trial. A Milwaukee divorce mediation lawyer at Reddin & Singer can explain the pros and cons of each process to you and help you make the choice that is right for you.What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process that is used to resolve legal disputes of all different types, including divorce cases. Rather than an adversarial process in which the parties battle it out to determine who should receive which assets or benefits in a divorce, the parties try to work more cooperatively to reach an end result that is satisfying to both parties.
Mediations are handled by an independent third party who manages the mediation process. Typically, the parties are kept separate in a mediation, and the mediator visits with each side, discussing their needs and concerns, where they are willing to compromise, and what they are committed to obtaining. The mediator’s job is to assess the positions of both parties and coax them toward a middle ground where they can reach a settlement.
Mediation is a nonbinding process, which means that if either party is unsatisfied with the result or unwilling to compromise further, he or she can walk away from the process without any penalty. A divorce mediation attorney can advise Milwaukee residents on whether this may be a smart decision in the circumstances. The mediator cannot impose any sort of outcome on the process. Instead, the parties must come to a resolution voluntarily.Mediation Opportunities in Wisconsin
The reality in litigation, divorce or otherwise, is that most cases settle. When push comes to shove, most parties would rather resolve their dispute on their own terms through mediation than risk an adverse outcome at trial. Since courts know this, they also emphasize the importance of mediation in their proceedings.
In Wisconsin, mediation is required by the courts in all cases in which there is a dispute between parents about custody or placement of children. Because of the sensitivity of these issues and the potential for trauma if they go to litigation, courts encourage parents to work with a county mediator to reach a negotiated outcome.
The county mediator’s responsibility is to work toward a resolution that protects the best interest of the child. This can include tasks such as interviewing the child or requiring all of the parties to participate in therapy before beginning mediation. Ultimately, if the county mediator is successful, the parties will reach a written final agreement governing custody and placement issues.
If the county mediator is not successful, or if the parties wish to mediate divorce issues broader than just custody and child placement, they can then use a private mediator such as a Milwaukee divorce mediation attorney to oversee a mediation of more extensive issues. Private mediators can address any type of topic, including financial disputes, property disputes, and questions of maintenance moving forward.
Sometimes private mediation can accomplish its goals in one day-long session. When there are multiple issues of contention in a divorce, however, the mediator will typically engage in multiple sessions before completely finalizing a divorce. Although it may seem expensive to pay a mediator for these sessions, it is almost always cheaper than paying for the process of going through a full divorce trial.Mediation and Domestic Violence
While mediation can be a helpful way to resolve divorce disputes, it is not appropriate in every case. Mediation assumes that the parties coming into the dispute are on a level playing field and can negotiate their positions accordingly. When a divorce involves claims of abuse or domestic violence, mediation typically is not appropriate because it allows an offender to continue to exert power over a victim in an unhealthy way. For this reason, relationships with a history of abuse are not usually appropriate for mediation.Contact a Knowledgeable Divorce Mediation Lawyer in Milwaukee
At Reddin & Singer, LLP, our family law attorneys can help you take a closer look at options for divorce mediation and assist you in evaluating whether the benefits of mediation make it a good option for you. Contact our office for more information at (414) 271-6400 or online. We represent people in Milwaukee, Racine, West Bend, Mequon, Waukesha, and elsewhere in Milwaukee, Racine, Washington, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties.