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3 important facts people need to know about divorce mediation

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2023 | Divorce

Mediation has become a very common alternative to standard litigated divorces in Wisconsin. People navigating a broad array of different personal circumstances might choose this form of alternate dispute resolution so that they can minimize how much time they spend in court and maximize the control that they have over the outcome of their situation.

Many divorcing couples in Wisconsin, even those who believe that cooperation is borderline impossible, may be able to reach a workable settlement if they attempt mediation. There are both benefits and drawbacks to attempting to resolve matters outside of the family court system and pursue an uncontested divorce filing. Those contemplating divorce mediation should be familiar with the three facts below to make the most informed decision possible.

Mediation requires a signed agreement

For a couple to successfully complete the mediation process, they will need to arrive at a compromise that both spouses feel is appropriate. Whether the matters that they need to address involve property division or the arrangements for sharing parental responsibilities further. Mediation only has an impact on divorce proceedings if spouses reach an agreement and sign a document at the end of the mediation process. Otherwise, mediation is not binding. Spouses can theoretically set any terms for major family matters that they believe we’ll work for their families in mediation, which allows them to retain total control over the outcome.

Mediation allows for more privacy

Unlike court, which is largely public, mediation is a very private process. Wisconsin state law protects the confidentiality of mediation. Typically, only the signed agreement will become part of the public record after the spouse is presented to the courts. That confidentiality makes it easier for people to discuss matters that are deeply private, like health concerns or infidelity and the impact that those matters may have on the family. Couples may be able to resolve their outstanding disagreements more effectively in mediation because they can broach topics that they may not want to discuss in court.

There are limits to the mediation process

There are different forms of mediation available for people even in high-conflict situations. Those who cannot be in the same room with each other can still potentially mediate successfully with the help of the right professionals. However, in scenarios where one spouse intends to misrepresent their circumstances or hopes to defraud the other, mediation may not be the best tool. Unlike litigation, which requires a formal discovery process, mediation often relies on voluntary disclosures. Spouses may misrepresent their situation in mediation, which could lead to unfavorable or unfair outcomes.

Barring concerns about domestic violence, narcissism and other challenges that make negotiating inadvisable, hidden assets or other forms of financial misconduct, mediation is very frequently a useful tool for those preparing for the end of a marriage. Learning more about mediation and other solutions for disputes during divorce may benefit those preparing to safeguard their interests as they transition to single life.