Everyone has heard horror stories about divorce proceedings that have gone wrong: the legal process dissolves into an ugly, embarrassing spectacle that seems just a step short of a brawl. No, we’re not talking only about celebrity divorces: this happens to real people every day.
A few experienced divorce attorneys know that the problem can do too far in the opposite direction, too. Sometimes a couple will “mutually” decide on a low-key, “cooperative” divorce without any help from an attorney. They think they can handle the paperwork and decision-making without any supervision. Too often, one spouse is much more assertive than the other, and uses that leverage to dominate the divorce process. As a result, the less-assertive spouse agrees to a grossly unfair division of marital property and parental responsibilities.
There is a third way: the mediated divorce. A neutral third party supervises negotiations between the spouses and prompts for a resolution of key issues outside the courtroom. This approach is highly successful. It has been shown to reach a mediated divorce settlement covering all marital issues about 80 percent of the time.
The key benefits from mediated divorce proceedings
The advantages of divorce mediation are so obvious that many family law attorneys recommend it as the first choice for their clients. Among the strengths that are cited most often are:
- Effectiveness. Divorce mediation allows both parties a say both in the way the marriage ends and also in crafting future living arrangements. Spouses feel empowered by this approach. This can lead to a lasting cooperative attitude between the ex-spouses—a huge advantage to resolving issues that may arise in the future.
- Cost. Mediation can be much less expensive than a litigated divorce.
- Flexibility. You can schedule mediation sessions to suit yourself, rather than being forced to follow the court’s rigid schedule.
- Dignity. The non-confrontational approach of mediation means you can emerge from divorce with your dignity and reputation intact. Your children will be shielded from embarrassing intimate details of your marriage. You can leave a mediated divorce and still hold your head high.
Mediated divorce: It’s not for everyone
Mediation is not for everyone. There are three notable situations where mediation is not helpful in a divorce—or may even be harmful over the long term:
- Intimidation. A divorce mediator is a moderator, not a referee. He can’t stop a participant from making a really bad decision. If one partner regularly dominates the other in the marriage, that pattern can carry over into divorce mediation. The result: an unfair division of property and unfair child support.
- Domestic abuse. If spousal or child abuse has been part of the family’s history, the informality of a mediated divorce is inappropriate. Go to court instead.
- Untrustworthiness. When one spouse does not trust the other to provide accurate financial statements or supporting documents, the full rigor of a litigated divorce may be required.
Get the help you need
Getting a good divorce does not have to mean all-out war against your spouse. You also do not have to have the court system make key decisions about your life or your children’s futures. Through mediated divorce, you can take charge of the divorce process along with your spouse.
Call Divorce Done Right and investigate our options for divorce mediation services. Call us today at (866) 337-4448 toll-free or fill in our online contact form. We can answer any questions you have about the divorce mediation process and let you know whether it could benefit you.