Couples who recently filed for divorce may be wondering whether it is worth taking the proceedings to court. Though court proceedings can certainly help prove one spouse’s wrongdoings and settle other disputes, it can take a toll on both parties emotionally—which may cloud their judgment and drive them to make decisions fueled by anger instead of reason.
This drawback is why even the most experienced divorce lawyers, from Santa Fe, NM, to Santa Monica, CA may recommend divorce mediation, first. In this process, the spouses—or, in some cases, the spouses and their respective attorneys—hire a mediator. The neutral third party helps to resolve disputes, with the goal of eventually coming to an agreement that both spouses will find fair.
That said, if you’re hesitant to take your divorce to court, here’s why you should consider divorce mediation:
1. Less Expensive
Settling issues with a divorce mediator will cost you significantly less money than a litigation process. Moreover, you’ll be spending on an amicable settlement of issues instead of going through a potentially heated court battle, where there is no guarantee that the verdict will be in your favor.
2. You and Your Soon-to-be Ex Will Make the Decisions
There is a common misconception that a mediator acts as a quasi-judge who makes decisions for the soon-to-be ex spouses. But mediators aren’t like judges who impose orders on the spouses. It is important to understand that a mediator is a neutral third party, meaning they help soon-to-be ex spouses identify their issues, educates them about divorce laws and facts surrounding their issues, and facilitate their discussions about all those issues. All their efforts are geared at the soon-to-be-exes arriving at a decision that’s fair and lawful.
3. You are in Control of the Process
Unlike in a courtroom setting where a judge facilitates the proceedings and makes the final verdict, a mediation process allows both spouses to be in control. You will be free to raise all your issues and express how you want them to be resolved. Chances of a heated argument are lower, because the mediator sets ground rules to maintain civility. Furthermore, the mediator will ask you and your soon-to-be ex questions for them to understand your issues from both perspectives. As a result, you’d also understand your spouse’s side of the story, which can help you to adjust and make wiser, more amicable decisions.
4. High-Conflict Issues Can be Resolved
Another misconception about mediation is that it cannot resolve high-conflict issues. While it may be difficult for you to sit down with your spouse if you’re having severe issues, mediation helps you maintain a more civil atmosphere. Mediators are trained to handle situations where emotions run high. They will help you focus on the issues instead of the grudges and other negative feelings you hold against your spouse. Furthermore, you’ll be allowed to bring a family therapist or marriage counselor to the proceedings. The addition of other marriage conflict professionals to the mix will help you communicate more amicably, which is highly beneficial if you have children.
5. You Can Focus on Moving Forward
Lastly, a mediation process motivates you to focus on moving forward, as opposed to heated court proceedings that tend to make it all about revenge and dragging each other down. The neutrality of the mediator will help you and your soon-to-be ex consider each other and your kids when making decisions, putting rationality over emotions.
Mediation puts forth amicable solutions to marriage issues. There might be some cases where a litigation process is inevitable; but if you and your spouse make it a goal to be civil, mediation will be better for your own well-being.