My Top 9 Picks for Choosing Divorce Mediation

Divorce and family mediator, Susan Ingram, shares her 9 top reasons she chooses divorce mediation over litigation.

{Time to Read: 3 3/4 minutes}

There are many reasons for a couple to choose to mediate their divorce. Here are My Top 9 Picks (in no particular order):

1. Expense: Mediation is much less costly than litigation. With mediation, the parties are paying just one professional – the mediator – to facilitate the process. In litigation, both parties have to pay the fees of each of their own attorneys as well as many additional fees and costs that are directly related to the litigation process.

2. Time: Divorce mediation is much faster than litigation. The entire process can often be finished in several months. Contrast that with it taking a few years if the couple is litigating their divorce. In addition, the couple decides on the pacing of the process – whether they want to take more or less time between mediation sessions.

3. Participation: Mediation is voluntary, so both parties need to agree to participate in the mediation process. If at any point during the discussions one of the parties does not want to continue, the mediation necessarily has to end. At that point, they can choose a different process, if they wish.

4. Confidential: Mediation is confidential. The mediation discussions, communications, and working notes of the mediator are considered private and cannot be used as evidence in a later court proceeding, if the mediation should fail.

5. Decisions: The couple makes all of the decisions in mediation. While the mediator facilitates their discussions, provides helpful information and assists the couple in problem solving, it is the couple that ultimately decides what’s right for them. Contrast that with litigation, where the judge decides what’s “best.”

6. High Conflict: Mediation works well for the vast majority of couples – even those in high-conflict situations. Basically, couples can mediate as long as they are willing to sit down and talk together, and furnish all information (financial and otherwise) that is required for both of them to make informed decisions. There are a few exceptions where mediation may not be advisable – such as when there has been physical or emotional abuse.

7. Collaboration: The final results in mediation are often referred to as “Win-Win.” The mediator helps the parties look “beneath the surface” to identify their true needs and interests. With this knowledge, they are better able to problem solve and come up with constructive solutions to the issues they are addressing.

8. Communication: Over the span of the mediation, the couple learns how to communicate better with each other. This ability typically carries over into the post-divorce situation as well, so that it becomes easier for the couple to have productive conversations.

9. Children: Mediation is much more emotionally protective of the couple’s children. Couples with children will need to interact many years into the future. The mediation process helps parents learn to talk constructively with each other so that they can be good role models for their family and focus on the best interests of their children.

Are you thinking about a possible divorce and wondering if mediation might be the right choice for you? If you have further questions about the process, please give me a call. I would be happy to discuss your options.

 

Comments from Social Media

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Great and compact list of reasons for mediation in family cases and all cases, really. Thank you!

Katie Coleman, Mediator

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3 responses on “My Top 9 Picks for Choosing Divorce Mediation

  1. Joy Borum

    One of my top picks is clients’ self-determination. Clients build their own ways forward, make their own choices and, in my practice, after sufficient time and sufficient information; plus, if needed or wanted, the input from other helpful professionals. No “stranger wearing a long, black dress (to quote a now retired, beloved judge here) tells them what to do.”

  2. Mike Samuels

    Excellent points.
    #9, About children, add that it keeps the court from essentially running your child’s life when parents can’t agree, and for young children, that could be for the next 18 years.

    Also, many parties think that they won’t get as good a deal if they mediate. I have found that the ultimate result in mediation is very close to what would have happened in litigation, with, per #1, in very general terms, 10% of the cost.

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