5 TOP REASONS TO MEDIATE DIVORCE
Divorce mediation is an increasingly popular method that allows couples to have more control over the issues in their divorce. During mediation sessions both parties, a mediation attorney, and, if necessary, third party professionals, will focus on coming to a settlement that is fair and appropriate. While mediation is not for every couple, there are some major benefits and reasons to mediate divorce that make it worth considering.
1) Flexible and Informal
The mediation process does not include the court, and instead a divorce mediator helps guide the parties through creating their own property settlement agreement, parenting plan, or any other necessary agreement. The absence of traditional divorce litigation allows mediation sessions to be flexible and informal. Sessions are scheduled at mutually convenient times allowing both parties to use their time effectively and work around one another’s obligations. Because the mediation environment is conducive to open communication and confidentiality, there is more room for creative and personalized solutions.
Although divorce eliminates the marital relationship, it can be necessary for ex-spouses to keep in contact, especially when children are involved. Divorce mediation allows parties to lay the foundation for their new relationship as it focuses on developing communication, trust, problem-solving, and compromise. A 12 year divorce mediation study by Dr. Robert E. Emery found that couples who used mediation had better relationships with each other and their children than those who used litigation.
While stress is an inevitable part of divorce, mediation can help reduce it. Litigation is adversarial while mediation is collaborative. The thought of court involvement alone can cause additional stress for many people, so replacing it with the face-to-face contact and discussion of mediation can be highly beneficial. Having more direct involvement in sensitive issues such as parenting plans can also greatly reduce stress.
One of the more obvious reasons to mediate divorce mediation is its financial cost, which is generally much less than divorce litigation. Attorney and court fees can add up quickly, especially in contested divorce, but in mediation the focus is on working together, which includes collaborating to ensure modest cost. Cost can be greatly reduced by effectively using each session and shortening the length of the whole process.
Since divorce mediation is a voluntary process it allows both parties to feel more in control of their financial and family lives. Unlike divorce litigation, mediation involves only one attorney who cannot give either party individual legal advice. Couples begin mediation with an agreement to be open and not withhold any relevant information. The intention is to solve issues without court intervention. This helps establish trust and comfort during sessions, which leads to a greater sense of control. Children may also feel more empowered knowing their parents are involved in a collaborative process and willing to compromise.