Mediation offers Arkansas couples an alternative to court divorce

Arkansas divorces come in all shapes and sizes. Some separations involve heated emotions, which can make it difficult for couples to negotiate the terms of their divorce decrees. Other cases may be settled in a more professional manner with little or no assistance from the legal system. Couples who are going through a divorce should be encouraged to explore all of their options in order to choose the one that best fits their unique situation. In Arkansas and in many other states across the nation, mediation has risen in popularity and is being regarded as a civil way to terminate a marriage.

What is mediation?

According to the American Bar Association, mediation allows a couple to discuss and arrange the crucial details of their divorce settlement, including child visitation, property division and spousal support. Couples entering into the mediation process must agree to make decisions based on what is best for everyone involved.

Mediation sessions are conducted by a third-party mediator, who is present to guide the discussion and answer any questions either party may have. They are, however, restricted from giving any personal legal advice, which is why many couples partner with a knowledgeable family attorney who will look after their best interests during the course of mediation.

Mediation vs. court divorce

Although mediation is not ideal for every divorcing couple, it does offer several benefits when compared to going through a traditional court divorce. The Huffington Post and the ABA list the following benefits of mediation:

  • It preserves a relationship: While some couples must maintain a parenting relationship, others must stay in contact for business purposes. Many couples walk away from mediation with a more positive connection and less frustration than they may have experienced with a traditional court divorce.
  • It is less expensive: Mediation sessions take place out of court, meaning there are no court costs to endure.
  • It is quicker: Many divorce settlements can be reached in just a few sessions, while a court divorce may take months or years to finalize. The couple can also plan the sessions around their personal schedules rather than having to wait for a court-appointed date.
  • It is less stressful: Mediation is less formal and more laid-back than court proceedings. Couples are able to discuss matters in a non-confrontational way and may get more closure to their issues through amicable conversation.

One of the highest regarded advantages of mediation is that couples are able to create their own settlement, which allows them to come up with arrangements that may not be offered through traditional routes of divorce. According to the ABA, studies show that couples are more compliant with the terms in their divorce decree when they have had a role in creating their settlement.

Contact an attorney

A family attorney can offer personalized attention, advice and representation that you cannot get from a mediator. Whether you have decided to undergo mediation or your divorce has proven to be more challenging, it is essential to seek the legal advice of an established attorney in Arkansas.