The Benefits of Divorce Mediation: A Guide for Couples Seeking an Amicable Separation

  •   |   Meghan Freed

laptop computer in the background with the words "divorce mediation benefits"Divorce itself is never an easy decision, and the process of separating can be challenging for both spouses.  However, couples seeking an amicable separation have a powerful tool at their disposal: divorce mediation.  Mediation is a process where a neutral third party — the mediator — guides spouses through negotiating the terms of their divorce.  This approach empowers couples to create solutions themselves rather than rely on a judge to decide for them.  This guide will explore the many potential benefits of divorce mediation.  From reduced stress levels to faster resolutions, mediation has much to offer couples looking to move on with their lives in a positive and healthy way.  Whether you are just starting to consider divorce or are already in the process, this guide will provide valuable insights into mediation as one path for an amicable divorce.

Difference between Divorce Mediation and Traditional Divorce

Control Over Outcomes

Divorce mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps couples negotiate the terms of their divorce.  This approach differs from traditional divorce litigation proceedings, which predominantly occur in court and on the court’s timeline.  While many couples in traditional litigations ultimately reach out-of-court settlements in their divorces, if they don’t reach an agreement, a judge they have never met will decide on issues that will impact them for the rest of their lives.


In addition, litigation is a court-centric process.  By contrast, when Freed Marcroft is the mediator, generally, we don’t even file a mediation with the court until there’s an agreement.  In other words, in mediation, we don’t even involve the court until we are done with negotiations and ready to ask a judge to approve the agreement and finalize your divorce.  As a result, the timeline of a mediated divorce isn’t dependent on the court’s schedule, which means you and your spouse can proceed on the schedule that best suits you.

Reduced Acrimony

Mediation is a confidential process that allows couples to collaborate to find solutions that work for both.  Mediators are trained to help couples communicate effectively and identify their needs.  This means that a skilled mediator can help support a couple in their desire to focus on outcomes and keep hostility low.


Another main benefit of mediation is that it is less adversarial and more private than traditional divorce proceedings.  In mediation, the focus is on working together outside of court to find solutions that work for both of you.  This approach is much more discreet than open court and can reduce the stress and conflict that can arise during traditional divorce proceedings.

Read: What Is an Amicable Divorce?

Read: How to Have an Amicable Divorce

Divorce Mediation Pros and Cons

As we have discussed, some of the benefits of mediation include:

  • Assistance staying focused on solutions rather than problems
  • Increased control over resolutions
  • Increased privacy
  • Communication support
  • A timeline not based on the court’s caseload and schedule.

That said, mediation isn’t suitable for everyone.  First, both spouses must agree to mediate.  In litigation, it only takes one spouse’s decision to end the marriage.  Second, some spouses do not want to sit together with their spouse in the room with the mediator.  They prefer to have a lawyer by their side.  In those cases, collaborative divorce is a litigation alternative worth considering.  A third potential con is when there is a concern that one spouse won’t be candid in sharing information.  Mediation requires trust and for both spouses to participate in good faith.  Finally, mediation can drag out if both spouses aren’t committed to keeping their commitments to moving a mediation forward.  When choosing mediation, both spouses should commit to scheduling mediation sessions, keeping those appointments, and completing any “homework” in the agreed-upon timeline.

Read: ADR & Divorce

Read: Mediation, Collaboration, or Litigation?

Preparing for Divorce Mediation

Preparing for divorce mediation is vital to ensure the process is as productive and smooth as possible.  Getting your arms around your background financial documents can assist, for example.  Also, completing the homework that your mediator provides you on the timeline you agree to is important.  This will help keep the mediation moving forward and will help support the trust between you and your spouse.

It’s also essential to come to mediation with an open mind and a willingness to compromise.  Couples should also be prepared to communicate effectively during mediation.  This means listening actively to the other party, expressing their own needs clearly and respectfully, and remaining open to feedback and suggestions from the mediator, your review counsel, and your spouse.

Read: Using EAR Statements to Solve Problems With Your Ex During Divorce

Read: BATNA & Divorce

Divorce Mediation Legal Fees

One of the common reasons people cite why they are interested in mediation is that they have heard it tends to have lower legal fees. A mediator’s fees, plus the fees of the two lawyers serving as the spouse’s review counsel, will almost certainly cost less than had the divorce been a high-conflict litigation. In addition, in a mediation, spouses can bring in one neutral expert to, for example, value the family home. There’s a fee cost savings when you share one neutral expert rather than have two competing experts like in litigation.

Relatedly, it’s normal and appropriate to consider legal fees when choosing a divorce process. That said, it should rarely be the primary driver of why you pick one approach over another. For example, if you do not trust your spouse to be candid about their finances, you should think long and hard about proceeding with mediation — regardless of potential relative cost.

Read: Understanding the Cost of Divorce Mediation in Connecticut

Factors Impacting Mediator’s Fees

Let’s also dig into some reasons that make mediation more or less expensive. In all divorces, not just divorce mediations, two issues tend to have the most significant impact on legal fees: the hostility between the spouses and the complexity of the involved issues. Mediation is designed to support couples who, though they don’t agree on everything, are committed to working together to resolve all of the issues in their divorce. This means that in successful mediation, the spouses aren’t high-conflict. That said, many couples who seek the privacy and control that mediation offers also have complex lives. You can work through complicated financial situations (like closely held businesses, intricate compensation plans, or family trusts) and complicated parenting issues (like a child with special needs or the unpredictable schedule of an ER doctor) beautifully in a carefully crafted mediation with an experienced mediator. But these complexities will tend to increase the time your mediator spends on your divorce, which increases the mediator’s fees.

Read: How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

Read: When Reality Doesn’t Match Up With Your Vision

Finding the Right Divorce Mediator

Finding the right divorce mediator is an essential factor in the success of the mediation process. Choosing an experienced, qualified mediator with a good reputation is important. A mediator with a background in law can be particularly helpful in divorce mediation because they can assist spouses in finding solutions that work for them and that the court will view as fair and equitable. When lawyers act as mediators, they don’t represent either spouse. They will not give either of you legal advice (that’s for your review counsel!), but they can provide legal information.

It’s also important to choose a mediator who is neutral and unbiased. They should facilitate the negotiation process and help the couple find solutions that work for both parties. Couples should also feel comfortable with the mediator and be able to communicate effectively with them.

Read: Settlement and Divorce

Read: What Is Mediation in Divorce?

The Role of Lawyers in Divorce Mediation

Your mediator may well be a lawyer, but they aren’t acting as either spouse’s lawyer in the mediation. Instead, spouses hire their own “mediation review counsel.” Some people only meet with their review counsel once they’ve reached an agreement in their mediation. They meet with their lawyer to “review” that agreement and get the attorney’s insights and legal advice. Other people work more closely with their mediation review counsel throughout the mediation. They may meet, for example, to prepare for a session, get answers to questions that come up along the way, or brainstorm creative solutions. In other words, the role of lawyers in mediation can vary depending on your case’s specific circumstances and your priorities.

It’s important to note that spouses’ independent lawyers should not take over the mediation process or undermine the work that the mediator is doing. Instead, as long as the mediation works and continues to be in the client’s best interests, the mediator should support it.

Read: Review Counsel in Connecticut Divorce Mediation

Read: How to Have an Amicable Divorce

Common Issues Addressed in Mediation

Divorce mediation can be used to address a wide range of issues related to the divorce, including:

Division of Property

Dividing property is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Mediation can help couples find creative solutions that work for both parties, rather than resorting to a judge to make decisions for them.

Child Custody and Support

Child support and custody are common issues addressed in divorce mediation. Child custody mediation can help parents create a plan that meets the needs of their children and is in their best interests.


Alimony, also known as spousal support, is another issue that can be addressed in mediation. Couples can work together to find a fair and equitable solution for both parties.

Creating a Divorce Mediation Agreement

Once you’ve reached an agreement during mediation, the mediator drafts a divorce settlement agreement,  also called a separation agreement. The spouses then review the agreement with their respective review counsel attorneys.

Once the mediation settlement agreement is finalized, the divorce is formally initiated with the court, and the agreement is presented to a judge for approval. First, the judge reviews the agreement to ensure that it meets the legal standards, including that it is fair and equitable for both spouses and is in their children’s best interests. Once the agreement is approved, the judge makes it a court order and declares the spouses divorced.

Read: How to Have a Good Divorce

Post-Mediation Considerations

After a judge has approved the divorce agreement, there are several post-mediation considerations that couples should keep in mind. For example, it’s important to ensure that you follow any “to do” items contained in your agreement and that any necessary changes are made as soon as possible.  You should also review and update your estate planning documents post-divorce.

Read: What Is a Motion to Open?

Next Steps

Divorce mediation is a powerful tool for couples seeking a good divorce. From reduced stress levels to faster resolutions, mediation has a lot to offer couples who are looking to move on with their lives in a positive and healthy way. By understanding the process of mediation and finding the right mediator, couples can create solutions that work for both parties and ensure a smoother transition into their new lives.  If you’d like to ask any questions about mediation or learn more about how Freed Marcroft’s experienced team of mediators and meditation review attorneys can help, please contact us.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC