The prospect of divorce can seem daunting on many levels. When you’ve been together for many years (or even decades), your lives are intertwined not only from a legal perspective, but also socially, emotionally and financially.
Fortunately, not every divorce case involves months or years of heated legal battles. Mediation offers a way to resolve legal issues in a nonadversarial out-of-court settling. During mediation, each party still has their own attorney, and a third-party neutral mediator helps facilitate constructive negotiations.
Here are five reasons to consider mediation:
1. It puts the decision-making power back in your hands.
With litigation, a judge decides the critical issues that will impact your lives for years to come. Mediation puts that power back in your hands. After all, you and your ex are the ones who will be living out those decisions on a day-to-day basis. It makes sense that you should both have a say in how to shape that future. And rather than an all-or-nothing court order, you can work out a win-win solution that fits both of your needs.
2. It saves money.
Litigation is expensive. Many a divorcing couple has drained their combined resources to wage endless battles in court. Mediation is a much more cost-effective way to resolve disputes. At the end of the day, it puts money back in your own pockets instead of your lawyers’.
3. It preserves relationships.
Yes, your marriage is ending, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will have no ongoing relationship. Many couples wish to remain on good terms – if not for their own benefit, then at least for the benefit of mutual friends and family members. If you have children, you will forever be co-parents together.
Litigation is, by nature, adversarial. It creates a recipe for deep relational damage. Mediation, by contrast, allows couples to resolve disputes without bitterness or drama.
4. It’s confidential.
Mediation provides the opportunity to put everything on the table without jeopardizing your legal position should you eventually need to go to court. The protection of confidentiality helps foster open, honest dialogue which, in turn, leads to better outcomes.
5. It’s not binding.
There’s no requirement to come out of mediation with an all-encompassing agreement. The courtroom option is still available. In fact, you can resolve some issues through mediation while leaving others for a judge to decide.