In previous generations, those who were going through a divorce had few options. If the couple chose to end the marriage, the couple was likely headed to court to battle out their differences before the divorce could be finalized.
These days, couples have more options. One that has been growing since the 1970s is referred to as alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
What types of alternative dispute resolution are available in Indiana? State law recognizes a number of forms of ADR, including arbitration and mediation.
Arbitration is defined by the Indiana Rules of Court as a process involving a neutral third person, referred to as the arbitrator. This arbitrator reviews the facts and arguments as presented by both parties before providing a final decision.
Mediation also involves a neutral third person, referred to as a mediator. However, this mediator does not issue a final decision. Instead, the mediator’s role is to assist in developing a resolution. Mediation is designed to be an “informal and nonadversarial process” and is often a viable alternative to the traditional courtroom litigation for divorce proceedings.
Why should I consider mediation for my divorce? There are a number of reasons to consider mediation instead of litigation for divorce. Three of the more common include:
- Efficient. Mediation is generally more efficient than litigation. This is often true when it comes to both the amount of time it takes to complete the divorce as well as the cost of the process. A publication by FindLaw notes that mediation generally takes an average of a days or weeks, while litigation tends to average in the months or years. The shorter period of time generally translates to a reduced cost.
- Collaboration. The collaborative atmosphere of mediation is ideal for couples going through divorce when children are present. If the parents are interested in playing an active role in their children’s lives, this process can provide the parents with an option to end their marital relationship while not only preserving but also helping to better establish the roles that will continue in the parental relationship.
- Compliance. It is also important to note that the agreement resulting from the mediation process generally has a higher compliance rate than those that result from litigation.
Although these tips can provide some benefit to those considering divorce, each couple’s situation is unique. As such, the couple will want to carefully consider the benefits and risks of both litigation and mediation for their divorce. In these situations, it is wise to seek legal counsel to help better ensure your interests are protected.