Mediation is an attempt by a disinterested third party to guide an agreement on contested issues in a divorce. Whereas many people, when faced with the prospect of an impending divorce, think first and foremost of going to trial. The thought of appearing before a judge is for many a terrifying ordeal which only adds stress to an already stressful situation. Mediation can be a comforting substitute for the anxiety of the courthouse. One of the primary benefits of a mediated divorce is that both parties retain a much greater degree of control over the pace and outcome of the process.
Several factors influence whether a mediated divorce will ultimately be successful but most importantly, the disputants should have a respectful relationship with each other. Both parties should be capable of expressing their ideas, wants, and needs in a mature manner.
Both parties should understand that a mediator is not a judge. She does not make any decisions. Her primary goal is to assist both parties in reaching an agreement that is to their mutual satisfaction. Unlike judges, mediators often create unique agreements that deviate from the norm because the agreements are tailor-made by the couple to fit their circumstances and desires. Hearing what each side truly wants out of the process makes the mediator’s job that much simpler and everyone benefits.
The client’s choice to mediate a conflict often has many beneficial effects on any children who may be involved. Mediation is generally less stressful than litigation, allowing for a more peaceful home during the conflict. In addition, children benefit from seeing their parents cooperating, even when they disagree with each other. The cooperation of the parents often leads to more joint custody being awarded in mediation, benefiting the children with a continued future with both parents. Like many other issues in mediation, parties generally retain more control over their children’s interest and needs than they would if they chose litigation.
For many clients, the best reason for choosing mediation will be the cost. Mediation will almost always be less expensive than litigation. While both mediation and litigation can involve experts, such as accountants and real estate appraisers, there is only one mediator; as opposed to two attorneys or more were the parties to appear in court. Remember that mediation is concerned with both parties working together, and doing so can dramatically decrease the billable time owed.