Should I consider divorce mediation?

Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult life events one can endure. A divorce of any kind is hard. When issues such as spousal support, child custody and support, and division of property are to be determined, tensions and stress levels run high. If a divorcing couple cannot come to an agreement on these issues, typically they hire their attorneys and slug it out in court.

A litigated divorce is already emotionally, physically, and financially draining. The thought of you or your children having to appear before a judge only increases the stress level for your family. A litigated divorce can be messy, and sadly, it can take a nasty toll on you, your soon-to-be ex, and your children.

There is a better way. It’s called divorce mediation.

What is a divorce mediation?

In simple terms, divorce mediation is when a disinterested third party (mediator) attempts to help a divorcing couple come to an agreement about contested issues without getting the courts involved.

Why consider divorce mediation?

While there are numerous reasons to choose a mediated divorce over a litigated one, we will look at only three.

It bridges the communication gap. Most couples facing divorce have at least one thing in common: somewhere along the way in their marriage, a breakdown in communication took place. When this is the case (and it usually is), an experienced mediator can guide the divorcing couple in opening up communication again. Both parties in a divorce want to feel that their side is being stated and heard; a mediator can help the parties move toward this. Mediation helps you and your spouse work through your issues to come to a mutual agreement that will help you move forward in the divorce.

It’s more child-focused. One of the biggest concerns of a parent going through a divorce is the effect it will have on their children. In a litigated divorce, not only can things get messy and contentious fast, but your children can also be dragged into the mix. When parents can’t agree on custody issues, this is taken to the court for the judge to decide. This could involve your children being interviewed and observed by experts; it could even require that your children appear in court. In a mediated divorce, the mediator will help both parents to stay focused on the children’s needs and help you come to a custody agreement in a setting that is less stressful, cooperative, and more thoughtful.

It’s more personal. A mediator can help you and your spouse create an agreement that meets the needs of your family. In her article that appeared on the American Bar Association’s website, attorney Holly J. Clemente says that “unlike judges, mediators often create unique agreements that deviate from the norm because the agreements are tailor-made by the couple to fit their circumstances and desires. The mediator…can, and in fact is expected to, meet individually with each side. Hearing what each side truly wants out of the process makes the mediator’s job that much simpler, and everyone benefits.”

Often, attorneys may take an adversarial role to negotiate the “best” deal for their clients. In contrast, a mediator’s end goal is to help both parties come to a suitable solution with the family’s best interest in mind.

If you’d like to know more about how mediation could benefit your divorce, contact Christine M. Howard Law for more information. We can help you to determine if divorce mediation is the right course for you.