Healthy Living · September 15, 2022 0

How can divorce mediation help you towards a more amicable resolution?

There is no doubt about it, going through a divorce can be a terrible experience. You are likely to want it resolved quickly, but at the same time, you will want to be ‘heard’ and have your interests and requirements addressed correctly in any agreement drawn up.

This is easier said than done as emotions could be running high, and a resolution may be hard to come to if other agendas are also in play. This can be the case if your spouse has a history of manipulative or erratic behavior. This can present you with the prospect of an endless cycle of having to negotiate one emotional minefield after another. In situations like this, you might need to find some middle ground with the help of a mediator.

What is divorce mediation?

In the simplest of terms, when using divorce mediation, you and your spouse or partner meet with a neutral mediator to resolve the common issues involved with a divorce via negotiation. The are many ways you can do this, and you could even do this from the comfort of your own home online, if you are happier doing things that way. Alternatively, you could choose to do it at the office of a solicitor, which can often count as neutral ground and may be a better way forward

Doing this can speed up the process of resolving any issues you may have to finalize the divorce. These issues, as with more than half a million divorces each year, are most likely to involve the division of property and possessions, but also the far more emotive issues regarding custody of the children and any arrangements regarding financial support for them going forward.

In this process, the mediator represents neither party but instead offers solutions that might work in the best interest of both parties. This can also involve the drafting of a possible divorce settlement which will obviously need to be agreed upon by both parties and their legal representation before being actioned.

Why mediation could be the best way forward

Now that you are more familiar with the process involved, it is time to look at why it might be suitable for your situation. There are several reasons why you may wish to do this – divorces, as mentioned before, are emotive times when the best decisions are not always made, so choosing to mediate your divorce can have many benefits.

Communication

The first of these is, as you might expect, communication. As part of the divorce, you may find that communication has all but broken down between you and your spouse, and you are more likely to want the opposite of what they suggest; regardless of how useful it might be. Having a third party, like a divorce mediator, involved re-opens this channel.

The financial and emotional cost

You are likely to find that in nearly all circumstances, the mediation can be considerably cheaper than a trial both financially and emotionally. In addition to this, mediation allows you and your spouse to come to a conclusion based on your ideas and needs rather than having a solution imposed on both of you by a court.

Finding a resolution faster

Very few people enjoy the thought of extended divorce proceedings, using mediation to agree on some of the knottier issues can mean everything is concluded far more quickly using a confidential process which, unlike a trial, is not committed to public record. It’s also a more open-ended process as mediation does not replace legal advice but can work alongside it to come to a solution that works for everybody.

Things to consider before taking part in mediation

Divorce mediation can be very useful in many situations, especially where you are past the stage where any direct communication is likely to be meaningful. However, before embarking on this journey, you need to make sure you are open to compromise and willing to listen and try to understand your spouse’s point of view.

How does the mediation process work?

Prior to mediation, your initial contact is more likely to be with an assistant rather than the mediation lawyer themselves, and you will put together a mediation statement. If this sounds like a big deal, this will normally be based around you filling in a questionnaire and answering questions about your situation, and the issues that you feel need to be resolved. You will also be made aware that everything that you say in mediation is confidential, and cannot be disclosed should the matter end in a trial

As mentioned earlier, mediation sessions are likely to take place in a neutral venue, so that nobody feels like they have the ‘home advantage’ for any conversations that take place. The mediator will also have an agenda in place for the meeting, so that the situation does not involve the type of heated discussions which may have typified the last days of you and your spouse as a functional couple.

Listen and understand (even if you do not agree)

The one time this will be particularly important is during the process of making a short statement about your situation, something which a mediator may summarize to avoid more emotive responses putting the process back even further. In this situation, it is beneficial if you can understand your spouse’s thoughts, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them in the slightest.

Successful mediation can often result in some form of agreement, which the moderator can draught up into some sort of settlement; and even help you file the relevant paperwork with the court, although this will vary according to who you engage as your mediator and the services they offer. 

This settlement can form part of the final divorce agreement, so it is important that you get this part right and engage the right people as mediators, so the process goes as well as can be expected.

Choosing the right mediator

Looking for the right person can be a difficult task, especially finding one that you can both agree on, and unlike accident or personal injury lawyers, you are less likely to have a divorce mediator already filed in your phone contacts. To make this process easier, you would need somebody who was highly experienced and is a specialist in this field, rather than just being a regular family lawyer guiding you through this very delicate process. Therefore, you might be wise looking for somebody with 10, 20 or better still 30 years of experience in this field.

Location will be important as well, as you will ideally need to meet face to face on the neutral ground of their office. So for example, if you are both in or near Los Angeles, then a renowned Los Angeles divorce mediation lawyer would be a perfect fit and help you find a resolution faster, especially if they have a reputation you can both trust.

A few final thoughts

Divorces can be a messy business, which might involve money, property, pets, and children. With this much at stake and to get matters resolved as sensibly as possible, you might have to communicate with your spouse, even if this is the last thing you want to do. It can be hard to agree on anything, including where and when you should be talking, which means you are likely to get nowhere fast.

By reaching out to a mediator, ideally one that is local and with years of experience, you can start to bridge that gap. With the mediator supplying neutral ground, and an agenda that moves the discussion forward and does not spiral into what could be a literal vicious circle, you could be more likely to reach a resolution without taking as much of a toll on your emotional or financial health.