Ohio residents might not know that for the past two decades divorce rates have actually been declining. Some people might not believe this since divorce is responsible for so much financial waste, but mistakes that are made during the end of a marriage are normally what makes it so expensive. Understanding the options when dissolving a marriage can make the process quicker and less costly, and mediation is an alternative to litigation that couples can choose.
Mediation works differently than the court process as both parties work to construct a settlement agreement while a neutral third party tries to facilitate communication in order to achieve this goal. A mediator cannot make determinations like a judge can, so both spouses have more control of the situation. The mediator tries to make sure both parties have a say in making decisions and that both parties understand what their decisions mean. The goal is to form an arrangement that works for both parties without the need for future intervention.
Steps involved in mediation include a consultation, individual sessions and joint sessions. Both parties get a chance to meet the mediator and learn about the process and discuss things privately with the mediator before everyone starts working together towards a resolution. A proposed agreement is then created for each spouse to review before eventually being submitted to a court for its approval.
Once agreements made through mediation are approved by a judge, they become legal court orders that both parties are expected to follow. Generally, settlement agreements made outside of court are less strict and benefit both parties as they had more say in the matter than they would in court. Couples might discuss things like child custody, division of property and alimony or child support during mediation. Each spouse may find it advisable to have separate legal representation throughout the process.