7 Reasons to Choose Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation empowers both of you:
The primary role of attorneys in litigation and collaborative divorce is to represent your separate interests first and foremost at the expense of shared goals and cooperative problem-solving. In the process, you lose your voice as your representatives “fight for your rights,” thereby focusing on your differences and on blame for the past.
On the other hand, the mediator is a teacher and coordinator whose role is to establish a non-confrontational environment in which both of you can communicate constructively with each other so that you can: (1) focus on the present and the future–because you can’t change the past; (2) identify your concerns; (3) build upon your shared interests and goals; (4) explore settlement options; and (5) develop an agreement with which both of you are satisfied, since this is your agreement, not one created by attorneys or the court.
By choosing divorce mediation, the two of you determine what is appropriate or inappropriate, acceptable or unacceptable. After all, who knows your situation and your family better than the two of you? Therefore, divorce mediation empowers each of you to take control of your divorce, your future, and the future of your family by expressing yourself openly, listening carefully, and then developing an agreement that is yours, an agreement that you are willing to honor in the years to come.
Divorce mediation is less expensive:
If you use either litigation or collaboration, each of you has to hire your own individual legal representative. You are paying for two representatives, whereas in mediation, you are paying for only one mediator because the mediator is impartial, does not represent one of you against the other, and focuses on consensus rather than conflict. Furthermore, when you have your own separate representatives, you communicate through your representatives, not directly with each other, so this adds a lot of time–and expense–to the process. Therefore, having one mediator rather than two separate representatives can dramatically reduce the cost of your divorce.
Divorce mediation is more effective:
Because mediation focuses on shared benefits and goals, on solutions rather than problems, and on cooperation rather than confrontation, mediation promotes trust, understanding, acceptance and team work that are seldom possible when you each have your own separate representative.
Furthermore, in mediation the three parties (two partners and the mediator) communicate directly with each other simultaneously, whether by e-mail, text, or in person. This direct communication avoids misunderstandings, delays, and defensiveness by eliminating the use of professionals as go-betweens.
Also, because you are in control of both the mediation process and the final agreement, you are more likely to be satisfied with the agreement and honor its terms than if the process and agreement had been primarily determined by personal representatives and the court.
Divorce mediation is usually faster:
In mediation, both of you communicate directly and simultaneously with each other and the mediator, avoiding the need for separate conversations and meetings with each party’s individual representative, as well as eliminating the need to coordinate the representatives’ schedules and attend court hearings that can require weeks to set up.
Divorce mediation is more private and informal:
In mediation, conversations and information provided are confidential. Discussions take place in a private office, not on the witness stand in a public courtroom, so you are not constrained by fear, embarrassment or formal court procedures. You can each relax and “be yourself,” speak openly, and carry on a discussion between just the three of you. You can dress casually, and schedule mediation sessions when it is most convenient for both of you, which can include evenings and weekends.
Divorce Mediation Improves Communication:
People getting divorced are often under the misconception that, if they are not able to communicate with each other, mediation is not a viable option. Just the opposite is true: one of the major benefits of mediation is that it enables and encourages communication between the parties.
For one thing, mediation provides a safe, respectful, and private setting for the parties to speak–and to be heard. The mediator acts as a moderator, making sure each party has the opportunity to speak openly, without interruption or attack by the other party. The mediator also makes sure that the other party listens carefully and responds honestly and respectfully.
Because of this improved communication afforded through mediation, most couples are better able to understand each other’s position, needs and concerns; this, in turn, often reduces tensions and defensiveness while increasing the couple’s ability to address issues and find solutions that are acceptable to both parties.
The improved communication skills learned through mediation allow the parties to address post-divorce issues constructively, which is particularly important if you are co-parenting children.
Divorce mediation provides professional support:
You could represent yourselves, and not have anyone assist you with your divorce. However, divorce is complex, and involves many issues, so except in the simplest cases (no children, no assets, minimal income), the chances are you will make mistakes that will cost you dearly in the future, either because you failed to get “your fair share,” or because you need to return to court to address issues not adequately covered in your agreement.
As an experienced mediator who is an accountant, attorney and marriage/family therapist, I will guide you safely through the financial, legal and emotional uncertainties and challenges of the divorce process, empower you to stand up for yourself in a respectful and cooperative manner, and allow you to retain both your dignity and your sanity.