Traditional divorce is known for being prone to messy conflicts, creating drawn-out battles over details, and generating an atmosphere that pits you and an ex-spouse against one another as sudden enemies.
In divorce litigation, each party hires separate representation and goes to court for a judge to help decide asset distribution, custody arrangements, and alimony or child support payments. This process is useful and even necessary in many circumstances, such as a high-asset divorce or one involving abuse.
However, for a growing number of divorcing couples, mediation is the favored route.
In divorce mediation a neutral third-party representative assists the parties, with or without lawyers, to attempt to reach an amicable resolution of all issues. The mediator assists with communication and brain-storming of creative ideas for resultion, rather than pitting the parties against each other. The process is geared toward problem solving and regulating emotions, rather than escalation of the conflict. All agreements made at mediation are binding and irrevocable. They are then reduced to writing and filed with the Court.
Contrary to a few misconceptions, mediation is not only successful in a variety of dynamics, but is also much more customizable than traditional divorce. Here are some of the most significant benefits of mediation:
- It takes less time. Traditional divorce is notorious for stretching over long periods, sometimes upwards of several years, and on average around one to two years. Mediation, on the other hand, can be completed on the parties’ agreed timeline.
- It costs less. Because divorce litigation often takes so much time, the rates skyrocket. The average divorce costs $20,000 per person. That alone is enough to convince some people to pursue mediation instead. Mediation costs a few thousand dollars total, on average, making it far more economical.
- It actually helps keep the peace. Even higher conflict couples can find neutral ground in mediation. The process allows more emotional processing to take place in the open, aided by the trained guidance of the mediator. The amicable approach often yields more positive results and feelings about the outcome for both parties, and may help them resolve issues that come up in the future in a more amicable way.
- It grants more privacy. Divorce is a public event, since the process takes place in court. Mediation can be accomplished in a private setting, where everything said is completely confidential, with the final court approval being the only public part.
- It provides more control. You and your ex-spouse may have better negotiating tools available through mediation, which enables a more custom collaboration and solution.
Mediation has numerous other benefits that can help make dissolving a marriage less painful. An experienced attorney who offers mediation is a great resource to get the process started.