When facing divorce, many people imagine a courtroom, a judge and two angry spouses. The notion of going to trial can be such an intimidating thought that an already stressful situation becomes infinitely more stressful. Mediation is often a comforting alternative.
Mediation entails an uninvolved third party, called a mediator, trying to bring about a resolution on contested issues. She works with both parties to form an agreement about contentious issues, including child custody, primary residence, distribution of finances and pension. While the idea may seem improbable to some divorcing couples, there are many reasons to consider mediation during this time.
In comparison to costly litigation, mediation is downright inexpensive. No longer are spouses paying for the costs and delays that correlate with an adversarial system. Instead, the informal approach of mediation means no waits for an open courtroom and places the attorneys in the position of advisers, thereby saving the parties money.
Greater likelihood of ‘win-win’ situation
Unlike in a court situation where a judge is limited to strict regulations, a mediator can help people find creative solutions that are more likely to be amendable to all. When people have a say in the outcome, they are also more apt to be compliant with the results. Consequently, there’s less conflict down the line.
Gained problem-solving skills
Mediation strives to help divorcing parties understand each other and communicate with one another more effectively. Especially crucial in situations where children are involved, having a strategy to communicate in the years to come is incredibly beneficial. People can revisit the mediator if future conflicts arise, which is advantageous if she’s already familiar with the issues, personalities and sources of tension.
Protection for the children
In custody battles, children often end up in the courtroom. They often contend with interviews and observations as well. When parents engage in the hostile interactions of a courtroom, children often hear negative messages about the parents, which leads to increased stress, tension and confusion. On the other hand, mediation allows for more neutral exchanges with less stress.
Many factors play into whether mediation is the right choice for divorcing couples. It’s important to keep in mind the many benefits of mediation over litigation, both financial and emotional.