As divorcing couples become more and more enlightened, an increasing number of people have become curious about the benefits of mediation and how they might be applied to their unique situation. In thinking about this issue, I’ve compiled a list of seven advantages to mediation over the traditional divorce process.
1 – Mediation is a voluntary process. The parties have to both agree to start the process and to continue it. If at any time one or both of them agree that it’s not the appropriate process for them and they’d like to abandon it, they can do so.
2 – The couple makes all the decisions in a mediation case. The mediator helps the individuals bring out the issues, and then facilitates a discussion between partners. The parties make the decisions together on all of their major issues. This is totally different from litigating the matter, which puts the decision-making in the hands of the judge; once that happens, the couple has considerably less control over how the process will go.
3 – It’s much less costly than commencing a lawsuit against the other party. In a mediation case, the parties are just paying one professional – the mediator – to help them, as opposed to their having two separate attorneys.
4 – It’s a much faster resolution of the separation and divorce. That’s because parties are not waiting for separate meetings and sessions with their individual attorneys, who then have to speak to each other on billable time. There is also no need to wait for court dates. A couple going through a mediated divorce decides when they will schedule their sessions and how frequently they will occur.
5 – The method is a collaborative process. The mediator’s goal is to help the parties find common solutions that can be a benefit for both them. It is often referred to as a “Win-Win” resolution because the parties have more time to look beneath the issues to find commonality – and then work from there. When a couple goes through the courts, it’s a “Win-Lose” mentality, meaning that each person is looking to win – to the detriment of the other “losing” party. Thus, mediation presents a very different mindset that’s conducive to helping parties work through their issues and come up with practical and sustainable solutions.
6 – The end result is much more helpful and constructive. Since most of my clients have children, even after the divorce they will need to have a long-term, ongoing relationship with the other spouse. During the mediation process, the couple learns how to communicate better with each other. This improved way of communicating carries over to their relationship with their children.
7 – Mediation is also a much more creative process. It is geared towards problem solving. The parties learn to be comfortable with the process and realize that it is helping them have important discussions that are moving them forward. The function of the mediator is to enable them to do that, and to help them begin to look at things from a different perspective. Furthermore, once the parties are divorced, the work done in mediation leads to greater compliance.They have learned to work constructively with each other and have, together, created an agreement they can truly live by.
The primary goal of mediation is to apply what the couple views as “fair” for their relationship, and for their children, going forward. A couple can work out solutions that are quite unique and geared to their specific situation – and the mediation process gives them the opportunity to do that. As a third party neutral, my task is to facilitate creativity and understanding without advocating for one side or the other.
I have years of experience and training, both as an attorney and a mediator, and am passionate about helping couples reach a more just and amicable settlement of their divorce through the mediation process. Contact me today to see how I can help with your unique situation!
Do you know a couple that could use this information to decide whether mediation is right for them?