How Mediation Can Help With Alimony
In 2021, nearly 700,000 divorces occurred throughout the United States. With any divorce, couples have to make a lot of important decisions. Mediation is one way to help alleviate some of the complications of these processes, especially when it comes to alimony.
What Factors Help to Determine Alimony?
Alimony is also known as spousal support. Some common factors that are considered for determining alimony include:
- The income and earning capacity of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living enjoyed by both spouses during the marriage
- The financial contributions and sacrifices made by each spouse
- The age and health of each spouse
- Each spouse’s educational and employment background
- The distribution of marital assets and liabilities
- Custody arrangements
While these cases can go through the traditional court system, some couples have opted for mediation instead.
Using Mediation as an Advantage
When determining alimony, the traditional approach has been to go through the courts. However, this process can create and encourage adversarial interactions, even in a previously amicable relationship. In turn, that can increase the stress and tension involved in the divorce.
A more personalized and compassionate approach to divorce is mediation. Couples work with a neutral third party to navigate complex issues, including alimony. The mediator helps the couple reach a mutually beneficial agreement that considers both parties’ needs and concerns.
Along with that, mediation can be a more effective and less costly way to handle a divorce. This process allows couples more control over the outcome and can lead to a mutually beneficial resolution.
How Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is a structured and voluntary process that involves a neutral and trained third party. It encourages communication and negotiation between spouses in conflict. However, both spouses must agree voluntarily to participate in the mediation process.
The spouses can choose a mediator together, or a court may appoint one. The mediator should be neutral, impartial, and possess the skills to settle the dispute.
Once the spouses have settled on a mediator, that person will conduct an introductory session. During this time, they will explain the mediation process and its goals and establish ground rules.
As the mediation progresses, direct negotiation occurs between the spouses, with help from the mediator. The mediator can assist with reaching an alimony arrangement that works for everyone.
Once the terms are settled, the mediator helps draft a written agreement outlining specifics of the agreement, such as:
- Additional relevant provisions
Before finalization, both parties thoroughly review the written alimony agreement to check for accuracy. Any revisions can be made at this time. After the document is signed and approved by the judge, it is a legally binding agreement.
The mediator may also offer guidance on enforcing the alimony agreement and procedures for addressing potential future modifications.
Finding the Right Meditator
You can begin the process by researching mediators specializing in family law and alimony settlements. Some couples choose to hire a divorce lawyer who focuses on collaborative law.
Once you have found someone, verify their certifications, training, and memberships in professional organizations. Like any professional hire, schedule an initial consultation or interview with potential mediators to discuss your case. During this time, you can see if they are familiar with alimony-related issues.
You may also ask about the mediator’s processes, especially how they handle alimony discussions. They should focus on a collaborative and constructive approach to finding a resolution.
Ask the mediator for references from previous clients who have dealt specifically with alimony settlements. You can contact these references to gain insights into their experience and satisfaction with the mediator’s services.
Along with that, you want to assess the mediator’s communication skills since that is important in promoting productive discussions. A skilled mediator can navigate emotional conversations and maintain a balanced dialogue.
Find a Mediator for Your Divorce
Settling alimony is one of many challenges in a divorce. If you want to find a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer who understands the mediation process, contact the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner. Call 215-886-1266 for a consultation about your case.