Counseling You Through Life's Difficult Times
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Divorce
  4.  » Voluntary vs. court-ordered: exploring mediation in divorce

Voluntary vs. court-ordered: exploring mediation in divorce

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Divorce

In the past decades, divorce has become flexible and now has options for parties to privately take divorce matters into their own hands. With more divorcing parties willing to compromise and its potential reduction in duration and costs, mediation has become one of the popular methods for divorce. But while it is typically the parties’ choice, courts may order mediation when they deem fit.

Exes voluntarily meeting halfway

Even before taking it to court, many separating spouses amicably decide to settle their divorce terms privately. Marriages are extremely personal, and not all spouses are comfortable having their marriage and its fallout details available to the public.

With mediation, the parties can communicate, negotiate and eventually sign an agreement outlining the terms of the divorce with the guidance and assistance of a mediator. The terms can include property division and child custody, among others. The spouses still have to submit the mediated divorce agreement to the court for review so that the latter can ensure its fairness and lawfulness.

When the judge says mediation is the way

Courts assess each divorce case’s circumstances and determine whether mediation would work for the parties. Unless there is a history of domestic violence or unwillingness of either party to negotiate, the court may likely order a private mediation. This is possible even if the spouses have already filed the divorce petition in court.

Similar to a voluntarily entered mediation, divorce agreements from court-ordered mediations are subject to the court’s final review.

What happens if the parties try mediation but fail to agree? The divorce case will still move forward through litigation.

There is no one right way to address divorce

Divorces are unique the way marriages are. A method like mediation can work for one case but not for another. The only way to properly determine whether it is suitable is to review all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Is there a history of domestic violence? Are the parties on speaking terms? Finding out information relevant to the case is the way.

FindLaw Network