When people think of divorce, most people think of arguments, courtrooms and bitter conflicts over the custody of children. These days, however, few divorces end up that bad — using mediation for divorce has been a growing trend for two decades.
Mediation is not appropriate for every couple. Spouses in an abusive relationship should use traditional divorce litigation to ensure the safety of their family. However, for the couples out there who can stand to be in the same room, mediation might help you draft a better divorce resolution.
Mediation offers couples many benefits
Couples come to mediation either by choice or through a judge’s decree. Either way, using mediation instead of litigation offers divorcing couples several unique benefits:
- Confidential negotiations: The law dictates that all civil cases are entered into public record by the court stenographer. Anything said by either spouse could come back in future disputes. With mediation, the unfortunate things said during divorce negotiations are kept confidential, forever.
- Spouses choose the mediator: In traditional litigation, couples have little choice in their arbitrator. With mediation, spouses choose a neutral mediator together. A mediator will guide the negotiations toward compromise by teaching each party to communicate and use empathy. Co-parents may find these skills particularly useful when working together to raise their children.
- More convenient: Civil cases can take weeks or months to schedule, forcing couples to wait for a resolution. Mediated negotiations can happen whenever and wherever a couple wishes, allowing their divorce to proceed on their schedule.
- More affordable: Court fees and personnel expenses are not cheap. Spouses who choose mediation have to pay very little in fees. Sometimes, if a couple requests it, a court might cover the mediator’s costs as well.
- Improved results: More couples report satisfaction with mediated agreements than with traditional agreements. When couples work together to understand each other and find a compromise, they are more likely to stick to the terms of that compromise. Mediated agreements produce a sense of ownership that reflects a couples’ commitment to respect and care.
Find answers with an attorney
Spouses curious about using mediation for their divorce can find more information with a local lawyer familiar with family law. An attorney can help draft legal paperwork and locate a mediator.