When your relationship hit a rocky road, you may have turned to a family member or close friend in confidence to discuss your marital problems. You’re definitely not alone in your struggle, as many people in North Carolina, even right here in Cabarrus County, have encountered similar challenges in marriage. Perhaps you ultimately determined that filing for divorce is the most viable option in your particular situation.
If you’ve mentioned your intention to friends, colleagues or extended family members, you’ve no doubt heard horror stories about nasty courtroom battles regarding child custody, property division or other divorce-related issues. Such stories might cause you stress and worry about what lies ahead. You’ll be relieved to know that divorce doesn’t always have to be a stressful battle; it’s often possible to achieve a fair settlement in a peaceful, amicable manner.
You don’t have to go to court if you and your spouse agree to mediation
You might be surprised to learn that you can obtain a divorce without stepping foot inside a courtroom. The mediation process is available to spouses, especially parents who wish to avoid confrontation and settle a divorce as swiftly and peacefully as possible, particularly concerning child custody and visitation issues.
If you agree to mediation, you and your co-parent will attend sessions, which typically last several hours each, to discuss all relevant issues that must be resolved in order to finalize your divorce. You agree, ahead of time, to focus on what’s best for your children and to do work together to come up with a settlement plan instead of using litigation to resolve issues of disagreement.
A neutral party helps facilitate mediation sessions
You and your co-parent may each act alongside legal representation during mediation sessions. There’s also a neutral third party present whose job is to act as a mediation facilitator, which means ensuring that topics of discussion stay on track and that all discussions remain fair and peaceful. You and your spouse might agree ahead of time that there are certain issues you will not discuss during mediation, such as past marital problems.
You can obtain divorce and still work together for your children’s sake
Deciding that you want to obtain a divorce doesn’t mean you wish to negate your responsibilities as a parent or deny your ex the opportunity to maintain an active, supportive role in your children’s lives. Data shows that children who are constantly exposed to parental conflict in divorce have a more difficult time coping with their circumstances than children whose parents cooperate in a peaceful manner as they move on in life in separate households.
During mediation, you have an opportunity to state your needs and goals as you see fit to protect your financial interests and to support your children’s well-being. Your spouse is guaranteed a similar opportunity. From there, the facilitator and others can assist you in negotiating a fair and agreeable settlement that doesn’t include arguing and, also, enables you to make your own decisions rather than having a judge make them for you.