Why You Should Mediate Your Divorce – Part Two

May 2018

In last month’s blog, we discussed three good reasons to consider a mediated divorce: it bridges the communication gap between you and your spouse; it is more child-friendly; and it’s more personal.

While there are many other reasons that a mediated divorce could be a good choice for you, in this blog we will consider three more reasons to consider mediation – and when mediation should not be considered at all.

Why divorce mediation?

It’s less adversarial. Few divorces fall into the “peaceful” category. That doesn’t mean, however, that your divorce has to turn into an all-out war. In divorce mediation, you hire one mediator who is focused on a mutually-agreeable outcome that works for you, your spouse, and your children, in contrast to two lawyers waging battle in an effort to “win” for their individual clients. A mediator keeps the dialogue respectful and helps the couple to steer clear of anger and hurt feelings so they can focus on the future and moving on. No shouting matches, no bullying, no manipulating to get what you want is allowed. In the end, you both feel better about the agreements you’ve made, which in turn makes them easier to adhere to.

It makes co-parenting easier. After a contentious, litigated divorce, a couple often harbors anger, hurt feelings, or resentment, making it difficult for them to move forward as co-parents. A mediator helps a divorcing couple better understand each other and encourages healthy and respectful communication. The couple’s newfound ability to communicate positively and without conflict enables them to more effectively work together as co-parents. In addition, studies indicate that children adjust better to divorce when they have substantial, consistent contact with both parents and when their parents resolve post-divorce conflicts in a healthy manner. Divorce mediation makes both of these positive outcomes more likely.

It’s faster and less expensive than a litigated divorce. When a couple chooses a mediated divorce, instead of each party hiring their own attorney, the couple hires and shares in the cost of one mediator who works for them both, saving them money right off the bat. In addition, your mediator will work with you and your spouse at the same time in coming to an agreement, eliminating the extensive amount of time that it often takes for two litigating attorneys to hash out all the details of your agreement. Remember, less time spent means your divorce is finalized quicker and costs less money.

A mediated divorce also takes less time because you and your spouse determine how long it takes to resolve issues and come to an agreement. In a litigated divorce, not only do the two attorneys and the judge have to coordinate their schedules, but you also could wait months for the next court date.

When mediation isn’t a good idea

Despite the numerous benefits of divorce mediation, there are also many reasons that your attorney or your mediator could decide that mediation would not work well for you, including the following:

  • A history of physical, emotional, or substance abuse in your marriage
  • The inability of you or your spouse to speak honestly and freely to each other (even with the mediator’s assistance)
  • One spouse is hiding assets or defrauding the other
  • The mental or emotional instability of either spouse
  • The inability of either spouse to understand or abide by the mediation process

In addition, for divorce mediation to be successful, both spouses should be able to maturely and respectfully express their wants and needs to each other.

When mediation is successful, both you and your spouse should consult with an attorney to review your agreement before it is signed and approved by family court. Your attorney will then prepare the documents for court approval and for the divorce proceedings.

To find out is divorce mediation is the right path for you, contact us at Christine M. Howard Law for a consultation.