Despite what you’ve seen in the media and heard from friends, divorce doesn’t have to be a drawn-out, chaotic battle between exes where the courts end up making all the major decisions. Even if you and your spouse don’t currently agree on the terms of your divorce, it is very possible that you can avoid a contentious divorce in the courts by pursuing mediation to settle the terms of your divorce.
For couples without a valid prenuptial agreement, mediation is often the fastest and most affordable means of resolving issues in a divorce. When both spouses have individual legal representation to protect their best interests and a neutral mediator to help them set fair terms for a non-contested divorce, the process can be much quicker, easier and more affordable than a court-based divorce. There are a host of other benefits to mediation as well.
Mediation empowers both spouses for a fairer outcome
When the courts end up making all the most important decisions about your divorce, including how to divide your assets and what to do about child custody and visitation, it can leave you feeling powerless and displeased about the results. Mediation, on the other hand, allows both spouses to seek a mutually agreeable outcome to these critical decisions. You have to find terms that you can both live with in order for mediation to be successful, so there’s less risk of a winner-take-all approach from either party.
It’s not uncommon for you to have certain terms or assets that mean far more to you personally than others. No matter how carefully you approach the topic with the courts, if a judge decides the terms of your divorce, you may not feel very happy about the outcome. In mediation, you can negotiate more firmly on the matters that are most important to you and compromise on those more important to your spouse.
Mediation helps protect your children from the fallout of divorce
Divorce can often result in emotional damage to children, from toddlers to teenagers and college students. Witnessing parents fighting can make them feel angry, hurt and insecure. Younger children may worry that they are actually the cause of the divorce.
Needing to testify about preferences for custody and living arrangements can stress children, making them feel like they are betraying one parent. It also isn’t beneficial to hear parents testifying about each other’s worst behavior.
Mediation shields your children from all the arguing and court room drama. Instead of a battle, they get to witness their parents ending a relationship with patience and compromise. This can teach your children an important lesson about healthy conflict resolution, as well as setting an example for how to handle their own relationships as they mature. Additionally, mediation can help parents find common ground for future co-parenting together, making shared special events, like birthdays, and custody exchanges, more likely to be simple and civil interactions.