When you get divorced, the process involved is fundamentally a lawsuit. At least one party has concluded the differences in the marriage can't be overcome, and a petition is sent to the court to end the marriage.

There certainly are scenarios where the lawsuit factor is necessary. Most folks, however, would prefer to get through the process quickly and amicably rather than fighting it out in conferences, hearings, or even a trial. An alternative approach is divorce mediation. Let's look at what a divorce mediator does and how that might affect you.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Rather than both sides lawyering up and going to war, mediation involves working with an impartial third party. The mediator's goal is to achieve an equitable distribution of assets and liabilities left over from the marriage. Bear in mind, though, that equitable is not the same as equal. Instead, the mediator will look at who is the more financially advantaged party, whether one partner contributed to the other's education, and how one might have supported the other during difficult times.


The mediator is not a legal representative of one party or the other. You are welcome to still hire an attorney if you feel it's important to have representation during the process. However, many folks will find that seeking outside counsel defeats one of the purposes of mediation: trying to keep costs down.

Final Say

Entering into mediation does not presume that both sides agree to the decisions of the divorce mediator. In this sense, the mediator is there to facilitate the discussion. Both sides retain the right to reject the proposed solution and proceed with legal action.

Why Use Mediation?

First, some states strongly encourage mediation in their divorce systems. If you live in one of those, there's a good chance the court will refer your case for mediation rather than pushing the matter toward conferences, hearings, and a possible trial.

Secondly, mediation should reduce the costs incurred by both sides. Bringing in attorneys is expensive. Likewise, legal combat never comes cheap.

Third, there's a big difference in how one divorce mediator is allowed to approach the situation versus what two lawyers can do. A lawyer has a legal duty to provide zealous advocacy for their client, and that can create a much more adversarial situation. In divorce mediation, the goal is to conclude the marriage with a minimum of grief and make sure both parties will be well-positioned for life after marriage.

To learn more, contact a divorce mediator.