9 Reasons to Use Divorce Mediation

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Top 10 reasons to use divorce mediation

Reason #1: Divorce Mediation Puts Your Children First

Creating a parenting plan in mediation is a collaborative process with a common goal in mind: to do what is best for your children.

A mediator can help educate both spouses in a neutral manner and keep the focus on the children’s needs, while engaging parents in a more sensitive and less inflammatory process.

Custody trials usually require your children to be interviewed and observed by several experts. Your children may even be required to appear at court. The animosity between parents can increase significantly while embroiled in an adversarial process, which can expose children to increased conflict, verbal attacks and tension, leading to stress, confusion and long-lasting damage.

Reason #2: Divorce Mediation Is Less Costly

You and your spouse will typically pay one professional who is dedicated to helping you both reach a resolution. You will pay for meetings with the mediator and for her time helping you draft the separation agreement.

In litigation, the divorcing couple pays TWO attorney fees, not only for discussions but also for drafting of motion papers back and forth and court appearances. Lengthy divorce battles and trials require significant financial resources.

Reason #3: Divorce Mediation Takes Less Time

In mediation, you and your spouse set your own timetable for resolving issues. It is not unusual for mediation to take 2-3 sessions. In litigation, you may have to wait months for court dates or a time when two lawyers and a judge can coordinate their calendars to resolve issues.

Reason #4: Divorce Mediation Is a Less Adversarial Process

Mediation emphasizes cooperative problem solving and addressing the needs of all involved. The mediator can help raise points that an attorney would not be free to raise for strategic reasons.

The mediator helps the parties view issues from a neutral standpoint and with a focus on resolving the dispute, rather than validating one party’s position and seeking to “win.” A mediator can minimize side arguments and avoid the adversarial positioning between attorneys, while concentrating everyone’s efforts towards a mutually satisfactory conclusion.

That said, using divorce mediation doesn’t mean you give up the right to go to court. If you and your spouse can’t resolve your issues in mediation, you may opt out of mediation, retain attorneys, and ask a judge to resolve the issues.

Reason #5: You Have Better Discussions and Outcomes

A good mediator will help you and your ex develop new skills for communicating with one another. When you and your ex are no longer arguing over the past, it’s a lot easier to focus on how to move forward. Over time, this will considerably reduce the stress on both of you.

You and your mediator choose the topics that you want to discuss and settle. You, not the court, have final say over the terms of your agreement. Important decisions about you (and your children, if you have them) are not left in the hands of strangers. You and your spouse control how quickly or slowly decisions are made, when the divorce petition is filed and what the terms of the divorce will be. In litigation, attorneys set court dates, and judges make decisions with limited time and information.

Finally, you and your ex may be more willing to abide by a mediated settlement since the terms aren’t simply imposed upon you by a judge.

Reason #6: You Get More Personal Attention

You work directly with your mediator. She will propose and get a consensus on the resolution process. She will elicit, explore and generate options, and help you negotiate. Then she’ll help you refine decisions and arrive at a final agreement.

Most judges are overworked and understaffed with too many cases. Judges often do not have the time or opportunity to get to know each family and, by necessity, must speak to the lawyers more than the people actually going through the divorce.

Reason #7: Evening and Weekend Appointments Are Often Offered

In today’s world, it’s highly likely that both you and your spouse have jobs. Taking time off from a job for meetings concerning your divorce can add more stress to an already difficult situation.

Most mediators offer evening and weekend appointments as well as daytime meetings. This gives you the flexibility you need to maintain personal and professional obligations, yet move forward with the divorce.

Reason #8: Divorce Mediation Allows for Greater Post-Divorce Stability

In contrast to the adversarial nature of the traditional litigation system, your mediator seeks to improve the ability of you and your spouse to communicate with each other. This helps the process move forward and achieve better results.

You may also return to your same mediator if conflicts arise in the future. Your mediator can help moderate disputes and clarify or modify your agreement as time goes by. Your mediator already knows your agreement, is attuned to your families’ issues and dynamic and can be on standby, able to quickly step in when you need it.

Reason #9: Mediation Involves Just the Spouses

In mediation, you and your spouse discuss and work out your issues with just the mediator present. The mediator does not decide or rule on the issues like a judge. It is up to the spouses to come to an agreement. Mediation takes place in a quiet, private office or conference room with no outside parties present.

In a court hearing, testimony is put into public record. Anyone can come into the courtroom, sit down, and listen to you and your about-to-be ex-spouse fighting over your divorce issues. Then the judge decides.

Resources

Why Divorce Mediation Works
Going through a divorce? 3 Common fears and how to eliminate them
NYS Uncontested Divorce Instructions
How Do I File for Divorce in New York


Photo credit: CanStockPhoto.com

This blog and its materials have been prepared by BJ Mediation Services for informational purposes only and are not intended to be, are not, and should not be regarded as, legal or financial advice. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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