While the most common way to end a marriage is litigation, mediation can be an excellent alternative. This method for divorce is gaining popularity because it is perceived as healthier and more peaceful. As the couple makes decisions on all matters of the divorce settlement together, the individuals involved are typically more satisfied with the arrangement—despite the necessary compromises.
What makes you a good candidate for mediation?
Any couple can benefit from mediation. However, couples with amicable relationships can go through mediation more quickly, saving money and time. Additionally, couples with children are good candidates for mediation as litigation can be stressful and harmful to children, who often feel caught in the middle. In mediation, children are free from that pressure and stress, as the process doesn’t require anything from them.
What misconceptions do people have about mediation?
- I could never negotiate with my partner; I can’t stand them! This might be true in other circumstances. However, part of the mediator’s job is to mitigate emotional or aggressive behavior in discussions, so you and your partner’s relationship doesn’t have to be friendly. Is a situation more endurable without animosity? Of course. But tense relations are not prohibitive.
- Mediators are not licensed, so you can’t trust them. While there is no certification required for mediators, you can choose someone based on preset requirements. These requirements might include:
- A graduate degree in law
- 60 or more hours in mediation training
- A commitment to follow the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation
- The mediator will pressure me to save my marriage. Rest assured, this is not in a mediator’s job description. Instead, their role is to facilitate your divorce arrangements.
- I have no clue about the family assets; I wouldn’t know where to start. In mediation, you can bring in an outside expert like an accountant to help you acquire accurate records. You don’t have to do everything on your own.
- I need the court to protect my kids. In reality, mediation may serve your kids better. They don’t need to enter a legal tug-of-war, and you can advocate for their welfare personally. You and your spouse—the people who love your child most—will decide what’s best for your child, not a judge.
- Mediation is always best. There are some situations in which mediation is not advisable. If the relationship is abusive, your spouse struggles with addiction or you fear they are hiding assets, litigation might be a better option.
- Mediation means I won’t get as much money. Actually, research shows that couples divide property similarly, whether they go with litigation or mediation. The difference is that litigation can potentially cost significantly more in legal retainer fees.
Mediation is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but it is a good option for many couples seeking a more cordial and cost-effective dissolution of their marriage.