Divorce is a notoriously stressful and high-conflict experience, but it doesn’t have to be. The standard divorce litigation process tends to pit one spouse against the other, which can fuel conflict and negative emotions. An alternative process called divorce mediation focuses on structured communication and problem solving to find common ground.
While it is not always easy, the rewards of divorce mediation can be great. Spouses who end a marriage through mediation often find that it is faster and less costly than litigation, and that the outcomes are more satisfactory for everyone involved. For certain types of couples, such as those described below, the potential benefits can be especially valuable.
Parents with young children
Divorce mediation can be especially helpful for couples with children. By helping to reduce conflict and encourage collaboration, mediation can help divorcing parents lay the foundation for a successful co-parenting relationship.
Reducing conflict during the divorce process is not just good for parents – it can make a big difference for kids as well. Children often get caught in the crossfire during divorce, and even if they are too young to understand exactly what is going on, they tend to be very sensitive to conflict between their parents. Mediation can help parents keep negativity to a minimum and focus more of their energy on finding solutions that work well for the whole family.
Spouses who work together
Another group of people who stand a lot to gain from divorce mediation are spouses who have professional ties to one another. Whether this means running a small business together or simply working in the same office or industry, navigating an ongoing professional relationship after divorce can be tricky. Mediation can help smooth the transition by encouraging respectful communication and collaboration between the spouses and helping them find common ground.
Anyone who prefers an amicable divorce
Even without young children or business connections, divorce mediation is worth considering for anyone who wants to end a marriage as amicably as possible. Whether the end goal is to remain friends or simply to part ways with a minimum of animosity, divorce mediation can be a powerful tool for couples who prefer a more peaceful split.
Who should not consider divorce mediation?
Despite its many benefits, divorce mediation is not right for everyone. In particular, it may not be recommended if there is a history of domestic violence in the relationship or if either spouse has concerns about their physical safety. Also, because mediation is a collaborative process, it can be problematic if either spouse is unwilling or unable to make an honest, good-faith effort to participate.
Is it a good fit for you?
If you are interested in the divorce mediation process and want to learn more about whether it would be a good fit for you, it is a good idea to schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in your area who has experience with divorce mediation. He or she can answer any questions you might about the process and help you weigh the pros and cons based on your individual circumstances and the issues involved in your divorce.