Divorce Mediation and ADR

Traditional divorce can feel like a battle, one that leaves both parties emotionally and financially spent. Between courtroom drama and countless negotiations, the process can feel painfully long.

Fortunately, depending on your situation, you may have more options. At Brandau & Waltz Law Offices, LLP, Wisconsin-trained mediator Ann Brandau understands the advantages that come through mediation or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR). She has been practicing mediation in family law since 1993 and has worked as a litigator, mediator and Guardian Ad Litem.

One benefit of working with a mediator is that they are able to work with parties uninterested in hiring an attorney for each side but still need help wading through issues like child support, maintenance, property division or other financial questions.

What Happens In Divorce Mediation?

Mediation has become a popular method for divorce among couples who want their separation over quickly and with relatively little friction. This approach requires both people to work together while dissolving their marriage.

As both parties are working toward this goal, not fighting against one another, the time and cost commitment from everyone can be significantly less. The process of a mediated divorce looks like this:

  1. The couple meets with a trained mediator to identify the potential issues that could come with their divorce, including child custody, asset division, possible spousal maintenance, etc.
  2. With the guidance of the mediator, a schedule is set for meeting to work on the divorce. All parties agree to work toward a reasonable and amicable compromise and a dissolution of the marriage.
  3. Once all terms are agreed upon, the mediator drafts a divorce settlement that will be presented to a judge.

Through this process, you can save both time and money, not to mention the stress that comes with going to court.

When Does Mediation Make Sense?

In order for mediation to work, both parties have to be willing to engage in a collaboration. As strange as it sounds, you need to work together with your ex-partner (and possibly a lawyer) to finalize all aspects of your divorce.

Some people would never consider working alongside their soon-to-be ex, and that's fine. However, if you're facing a relatively amicable divorce, collaboration could save you time and money. It's important to understand which will be the best fit for your individual situation.

A Few Details To Understand

One thing to keep in mind is that while child support can be reviewed or revised by the court during the duration it is being paid, maintenance has more complications. If you and your separated partner should choose to waive maintenance, it cannot be undone.

In addition, when parties finalize a property division and the court approves it at a final hearing, that cannot be modified if one of you changes their mind later on. It's important that both parties see the plan as equitable or agreeable.

Traditionally both parties are expected to pay for half the mediation cost (although you may be able to come to a different arrangement). The process isn't usually finished after one session, but can take a couple to fine-tune and reach an agreeable resolution. One potential risk is that you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot reach an agreement, which is a possibility.

Talk About Your Options Today

A skilled family law attorney can help you look at your situation and pick a divorce process that fits your life, budget and goals.

If you're looking for help with a collaborative divorce in La Crosse or through the state, talk to a licensed Wisconsin mediator in Ann Brandau at Brandau & Waltz Law Offices, LLP. We can help you take the first step toward a new life chapter. Call us now at 608-784-2050 or email us to get started.