Updated: Feb 3, 2020
A divorce can be both emotionally and financially draining. It often takes a toll on the physical health of the couple undergoing it. In this context, to prevent matters from getting uglier, it might be a good idea to seek divorce mediation. Not only does it have immediate benefits like saving money on court and lawyer fees, but also has long-term benefits like co-parenting and reaching a mutual settlement. In divorce mediation, the decisions are mutual, unlike litigation where it appears more like a confrontation and the judge gives the final decision.
Litigation can take months, and sometimes even years to reach a conclusion. However, mediation usually takes much less time. In divorce mediation, the separating couple hires a trained and impartial mediator to help them reach an agreement. A mediator is not a lawyer. Their role is to help spouses negotiate what they want in a divorce and resolve issues that might arise in the process.
Mediation only works in situations where both parties agree to arrive at a conclusion without going to court. A written agreement is signed by both parties and is legally binding in nature. If one of the parties breaches the agreement, the other can take the court’s help to enforce it.
Reasons to hire a divorce mediator
Less financially and emotionally draining: Unlike litigation which requires both spouses to hire lawyers separately and pay court fees, mediation requires only a divorce mediator whose charges are generally lower than that of a divorce lawyer. According to sources, divorce mediation costs 70-90 % less than divorce litigation. This puts a cap on financial draining. Also, mediation is performed in a more relaxed and informal environment, making it less emotionally exhausting for both the parties involved.
Less confrontational: In divorce litigation, things often take a turn towards who is in the right and likely to “win.” However, in mediation, the process is a more of a discussion and mutual agreement. Both parties can lay bare their issues in the presence of a neutral mediator and reach common ground. The focus of divorce mediation is to allow both parties equal opportunities so that they do not feel cheated after divorce. All clauses and decisions are mutually agreed, which makes it easier for separating spouses to accept the outcome. There is less room for bitterness.
Less troubling for children: Child custody is a major issue in any divorce. Children tend to suffer the most when a couple parts ways. They feel unsettled and often undergo mental turmoil. Litigation frequently leads to delays, which makes it even tougher for kids. Mediation allows both parents an even ground, which gives them scope to communicate better. When the separating couple can negotiate child custody, support and visitation issues, children are less likely to end up as pawns. Since mediation allows parents to be more communicative, it also helps them to rear up children better post divorce.
A divorce is a life-changing event and hits hard when it takes place. Nobody is fully prepared when it strikes, which can make the situation quite challenging to deal with. This is where mediation and negotiation can help reach the best possible outcome.