The traditional adversarial legal process is designed to create winners and losers and is ill-suited to creating solutions to family disputes that respect the ongoing nature of a family, and the relationships that comprise a family. . . . Agreements reached by the parties rather than imposed on the parties are far more likely to last, and lasting resolutions are in everyone’s best interest, especially the children.
Utah State Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard C. Howe
There are many reasons why divorce mediation is preferable to the alternatives: representing yourselves; litigation; and collaborative divorce. Some of the more compelling benefits of mediation are:
Mediation is quicker and less expensive:
You pay for one attorney/mediator, whereas with litigation and collaborative divorce, you pay for at least two attorneys. By avoiding court hearings, schedules, and delays, mediation saves you both money and time. Although you can handle the divorce yourself without attorneys (“pro se”), divorce involves complex legal, financial, tax and emotional issues that are best left to objective, impartial mediators with experience in these matters.
You control the process:
The mediator provides information and guidance, but the two of you (not the mediator, attorneys, or judges) make the decisions that reflect your unique needs and circumstances, as well as the best interests of your children, so that you do not have to settle for a “one size fits all” agreement. You set your own schedule rather than being controlled by rigid court calendars. You maintain control over personal and sensitive information because all discussions, communications, and notes related to mediation are strictly private, whereas court hearings are open to the public.
Mediation promotes cooperation and resolution:
Mediation focuses on solutions, not problems; on compromises, not blame; on cooperation rather than competition. Therefore, mediation helps you to: listen to each other; identify shared goals and concerns; openly discuss issues; and consider creative and fair options–all while minimizing or avoiding the demands, threats, insults, and blame that contribute to making other divorce procedures both expensive and destructive.
Mediation is positive and healing:
Mediation focuses on hope and plans for the future, rather than dwelling on bitterness and blame for the past, thus freeing both of you to concentrate on providing new beginnings rather than on resurrecting old issues. A mediator who also has a mental health background will help you to express your concerns without allowing your emotions to control the decision-making process, thus promoting constructive and cooperative negotiations that result in an agreement reflecting everyone’s needs and interests. Furthermore, if you have children, mediation helps you to separate your roles as ex-spouses from your roles as parents so that you can co-parent your children in a cooperative and supportive manner.