What is Mediation?
Family disputes are among the most sensitive, complex types of legal cases. As most people have a strong desire to find an amicable solution to their divorce that limits conflict and preserve relationships, these cases are often well-suited for mediation. Under Wisconsin law (Wis. Stat. § 767.405(1)(a)), mediation is defined as “a cooperative process involving the parties and a mediator.” A mediator is a neutral third party who is trained to help facilitate communication and dispute resolution.
Know the Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Divorce is a stressful, confusing, and even overwhelming process. Mediation offers the structure that many divorcing couples need to finalize their separation without the time and cost of litigation. The most notable benefits of divorce mediation include:
- Save Time & Money: Divorce mediation is faster and less expensive than divorce litigation.
- Preserve Relationships: A non-adversarial process, mediation helps to limit conflict.
- Flexibility: The mediation itself can be adjusted to meet the needs of the divorcing couple.
- Win-Win Environment: A divorce can sometimes be better resolved in a win-win situation.
- Confidential: There is privacy in mediation. The discussion is not part of the public record.
An Overview of the Divorce Mediation Process in Wisconsin
Divorce mediation may be the best option for you and your spouse if you are seeking a cost effective, low conflict tool to help finalize the end of your marriage. If you are considering mediation, it is useful to know how the process works. The mediation process itself typically starts with an introductory phase where some of the key issues and objectives are outlined. From there, parties may or may not be separated based on the specific circumstances of the case. Here are some of the most important things to know about divorce mediation in Madison:
- Mediation is About Negotiation: In a divorce mediation, parties come together to work towards a settlement. The process is meant to be non-adversarial and to stress the mutual interests of the parties. A mediation can only be successful if both parties are willing to negotiate in good faith.
- The Mediator Facilitates a Resolution: The right mediator can make a tremendous difference in a divorce mediaton. During the hearing itself, the mediator’s job is to help facilitate a resolution. How exactly this will happen always depends on the specific circumstances of the case and how willing and able the parties are to work together.
- The Process is Fully Voluntary: In Wisconsin, divorce mediation is a fully voluntary process. If you enter mediation, you are not required to leave with a settlement agreement. While that is obviously the goal, you always retain the right to exit the mediation process if it is simply not working for your divorce case. You do not lose out on your right to litigate.
Four Tips for Preparing for Divorce Mediation in Madison
As noted previously, divorce mediation offers a number of different potential benefits to couples who are ending their marriage in Dane County. That being said, it would be a mistake to say that mediation is always easy. To get the most out of the mediation process, it is imperative that you are properly prepared. Here are four tips to help you get ready for divorce mediation in Wisconsin:
- Get into a Collaborative Mindset: Mediation is designed to be a non-adversarial process. It is not meant to be a winner take all. For mediation to be truly effective, the parties need to be in the right mindset. It is best to come into a divorce mediation willing to collaborate.
- Make Sure You are Well-Organized: To finalize a divorce through mediation, you and your spouse must resolve all material issues—including property division, alimony, custody, and child support. You need to be well-organized when you enter the mediation process. Along with other things, this means gathering and preparing all relevant financial documents and records.
- Know What is Important: Another key thing to keep in mind when preparing for divorce mediation is that it is a collaborative negotiation. It is useful to have clear goals and to know where you do (and do not) have some room to negotiate.
- Seek Professional Representation: The right mediator can make a tremendous difference. Whether you and your spouse are looking for a skilled divorce mediator or you are each looking for your own lawyer to represent you in divorce mediation, we can help.
How Karp & Iancu Help Clients through Divorce Mediation in Wisconsin
Getting divorced is hard. Even if both partners feel that it is the best choice, there are still a lot of legal, logistical, and emotional challenges. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., we are solutions-driven family law firm with deep experience representing clients in divorce mediation. Our team is ready to protect your best interests. More specifically, our Madison divorce mediation lawyers will:
- Conduct an in depth review and evaluation of your divorce case;
- Answer any questions that you have about family law mediation;
- Help you get prepared for the mediation process; and
- Represent you in divorce mediation with your spouse.