Divorce Mediation

Going through a divorce is in most cases anything but a pleasant experience. Emotions come into play, and even small issues can blow up into seemingly irresolvable stumbling blocks in which neither party feels they can yield. Once lawyers enter the picture and monetary tags are added to the emotional baggage, things can spiral out of control, leaving both parties feeling injured and unsatisfied. This negative situation is compounded when children are involved, increasing the emotional stakes and ratcheting up the determination of both parties to achieve their goals.

A New and Welcome Concept

This is where divorce mediation proves its value. Although the concept of divorce mediation is rather new, it's an idea that is becoming more popular. Couples who had previously “suffered in silence” rather than risk the emotional firestorm of antagonistic divorce negotiations are turning to divorce mediation as a common-sense solution that keeps the lid on the emotions and prevents the real issues from being distorted.

Although divorce mediation can take various forms, in its most common usage both parties would meet in a neutral location with an impartial mediator. The mediator acts as sort of a referee, attempting to tone down the rhetoric and emotions while maintaining the focus on the real issues. It's not a simple job by any means—even though all concerned parties know that emotions typically cloud the issues and prevent them from being easily resolved.

Divorce Mediation as an Effective Solution

What both parties need to consider as they enter into the divorce mediation process is that the mediator can be an effective buffer between the two sides. The mediator is not a lawyer and does not act as one—their function is to be both impartial and flexible. Any advice they give is directed at both parties in a free exchange of information that avoids either party feeling conspired against.

In addition, an effective divorce mediator can apply their knowledge to suggest alternative ways of resolving difficult issues in a confidential and safe environment. By filtering the emotions out of the equation, the stage is set for both parties to achieve their goals and not feel short-changed by the inevitable compromises. What's more, and this is particularly important when children are involved, it allows both parents to move beyond the divorce process and deal with each other in post-divorce matters such as co-parenting, visitation and custody.

Safely Exiting a Minefield

One of the best things about divorce mediation is that it's a voluntary, self-controlled process. It can continue as long as both parties and the mediator feel it is needed, and working. The mediator must provide a valid reason for withdrawing, but both parties can withdraw any time for any reason. Divorce mediation is intended to reduce stress in ever way possible. Comments from those who have gone through the divorce mediation process are overwhelmingly positive.

In general, when comparing couples who have chosen divorce mediation instead of going through a typical adversarial divorce, the mediating couples achieve greater satisfaction while spending far less time and money. By resolving issues to their conclusion and eliminating the emotional baggage, couples are also less likely to wind up in court again later. The key is resolving outstanding issues while maintaining a sense of control throughout the divorce process. Reducing and eliminating conflict allows couples to put their past behind them and move on with their lives unencumbered by lingering issues.

By Steve Levenstein           

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