Let’s face it, divorce is messy and painful and can be very expensive. Did you know there was an alternative to make it less volatile and more affordable? Have you heard of mediation?
Mediation is a unique alternative to divorce. It provides a gentler, more productive approach to navigating the tricky legal waters of divorce and usually ends up being less stressful, less costly and easier to move on for the entire family.
The process involves an independent, third-party who meets with both husband and wife together to work out all the details of the divorce. The mediator is unbiased and does not side with either party. Mediation strives for an amicable arrangement, which serves all parties equally.
There are some significant benefits of choosing mediation instead of a court-centered divorce. The five most compelling reasons to choose mediation, instead of divorce are:
It Is Less Stressful
Mediation is far less stressful than regular divorce proceedings, which may be fraught with frequent attorney meetings, court appearances, and multiple confrontations. The idea behind mediation is to promote friendly cooperation that is mutually beneficial to everyone. The mediator’s job is not only to help with agreement over terms of the divorce but also to ease tension, remove emotion from the process and help both sides behave amicably.
Less stress on you means less stress on the whole family. Your kids will benefit as will your job. People going through a divorce tend to be more distracted at work and less efficient overall. If your mediation goes smoothly, your divorce should not negatively affect any other areas of your life. The reduced stress factor alone is a huge benefit for choosing mediation.
It Is Less Expensive (40-60% less than divorce)
Because the mediator is not necessarily a high-priced attorney but a court-appointed professional, and the proceedings are simplified, mediation can be much less expensive than divorce.
On average, the typical cost is about 40-60% less. The cost of mediation depends on the complexity of splitting the assets, child visitation schedules and other concerns. Even in complex cases though, the cost should be much less expensive. You might be shocked at how little it costs to hire a mediator instead of a fancy, high-priced divorce lawyer.
The cost of getting divorced will vary from state to state but hiring attorneys and using court resources in many cases can bankrupt you. If you can proceed with a divorce and save money, mediation may be the best option for you, and you won’t end up broke. In some cases, people stay married because they cannot afford a divorce. In these situations, mediation might be their only solution.
It Is Quicker and More Flexible
Although mediation can take time in some cases, the average time for completion is four to ten weekly sessions. In contrast, a long, complicated divorce can drag on for months or even years. Mediation is meant to be quick, efficient and flexible.
Due to the relaxed, negotiable process, the lines of communication are kept open and allow for brainstorming of unique solutions to solve any contingency. This flexibility allows for a swift and cooperative approach rather than a combative, engagement where everyone is left feeling exhausted and dissatisfied.
You may find that you have options available to you in mediation that a court-centered divorce does not allow. Mediation offers a lot of flexibility and if you and your partner agree on the details and your mediator feels that it is fair, you can pretty much dictate how you want to split the assets and handle child affairs. This flexibility can ease a lot of tension during negotiations.
It Is Private and Confidential
Divorce aired in a public courtroom, allows anyone present at the time access to the intimate details. There is very little privacy for individuals who choose to use the court system for divorce. No one wants his or her dirty laundry aired in public. However, if you get divorced in a courtroom, your neighbor or the guy who sells you coffee in the morning can hear every little detail. A traditional divorce may not be the best option for people who value their privacy.
One of the most desirable benefits of mediation is that it is completely private and confidential. Participants may not ever have to show up in court. The mediator handles all the paperwork, document signing, and filing, and each person’s privacy is ensured.
Your mediator will hold sessions in a mutually agreed upon location which is private, and comfortable. No one except your mediator will hear or ever know the details of discussions that take place during your sessions. The only documents the court will receive are the final, signed, agreed-upon divorce details.
It is Child-Centered and More Peaceful
Another significant benefit is the child-friendly approach to mediation. Custody battles may be damaging to children. Due to the cooperative nature of mediation, custody issues and visitation are all negotiated and agreed upon quietly. Children are less affected and do not have to appear or testify in court on either parent’s behalf.
This one benefit might be the most important. Protecting your children from harmful exposure to anger, confrontation and the messy details of their parent’s divorce is priceless. Choosing mediation may help your children stay happy and well adjusted despite the new circumstances.
Unlike with traditional divorce, most people who use mediation feel satisfied with the results and the process itself. You will most likely feel safer, more confident and in control of the process.
Divorce can be extremely challenging and painful. Mediation presents a much better option by making it less stressful, less expensive and is more comfortable for the whole family.
Emily Andrews is a writer at Assignyourwriter.co.uk and marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night. She believes in compassion and defending the defenseless. MORE >
CPR Speaks BlogCPR’s Mediation Committee presented Los Angeles mediator Jeff Kichaven on the limits of mediation confidentiality at a March 16 online program that provided attendees with cutting-edge and occasionally controversial practice guidance on...