Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for divorce, in the form of mediation or collaboration, has become increasingly popular among couples who want to avoid the chaos and drama of a litigated divorce.
You may be all for it – but what happens if your spouse is not? If you’re having trouble “bringing your spouse to the table” so that you can negotiate your split, here are some talking points that may get them to reconsider their position:
1. It’s more cost-effective.
The average cost of a litigated divorce where the couple can’t agree on two or more issues has risen to $23,300, while the average cost of an uncontested divorce is just $4,100. Every dollar that’s spent on litigation is one less dollar that you and your spouse have to put toward your future goals. If your spouse is at all money-conscious, they may realize that mediation or collaboration is the economical choice.
2. It offers faster resolution.
A divorce can consume all of your spare energy and time, and be hugely distracting from your professional life and private goals. Since both parties are actively involved in the negotiation process and the court doesn’t have to step in, both mediation and collaboration can offer faster results. That will give you both your freedom to move on much sooner.
3. You retain more control.
Once a divorce moves to litigation, the court has all the control over the outcome – and neither side is likely to be wholly satisfied with the results. If you and your spouse want to have more say over how your future plays out, mediation or collaboration can help you find flexible, customized solutions that meet everybody’s concerns.
4. You have more privacy.
Court proceedings are largely open records. If your spouse wants to preserve their privacy and keep their personal and financial information quiet, it’s better to avoid litigation. If you’re able to reach a resolution through mediation or a collaborative approach, the judge needs only review the agreement to make sure that it is legally sound and approve it. This may be especially important if your spouse has a professional practice and a reputation they wish to preserve.
5. You can reduce the conflict.
The collaborative nature of ADR requires couples to set aside their grievances from the past and focus on what matters in the present. This can help encourage better communication and reduce the overall level of conflict in the divorce. If you and your spouse have children together, this can help you transition to a post-divorce relationship that’s built on mutual respect and cooperation. That can reduce the stress your children experience with your divorce and make it easier to co-parent effectively.
Mediated and collaborative divorces aren’t right for every situation, such as when one spouse is trying to abuse the process to retain control over the other or there is a significant power imbalance – but they are something that most couples should consider. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of discussion about the benefits to get the other party on board. Legal guidance can help you learn more.