Why Choose Mediation in a Divorce?
Author: Marcus Sixta, Accredited Family Law Mediator
Separation and divorce can create a situation where neither party wants to work with the other in order to resolve their family law issues. However, in our experience family law mediation is a much better way to resolve a family law case compared to family court. There are of course exceptions, such as emergencies like child abductions, but usually it is the best first step as long as both parties are safe in the process.
Family law mediation is a negotiation process whereby the former spouses try to resolve their divorce issues with the help of a mediator, who is an impartial third party. The mediator is not a lawyer for either spouse and cannot give either of them legal advice. That is why many people bring their own lawyer to mediation. Also, the mediator does not have the power to decide matters for the parties. The mediator controls the process while the former spouses control the outcome.
The family law mediator helps the parties communicate and come up with possible solutions to their problems. If the parties agree on how to resolve issues this can be written down. Once there is a settlement, it can be turned into a separation agreement and the mediator or one of the lawyers will prepare a contract. Each of the parties may then obtain legal advice and sign the separation agreement.
We believe that there are many benefits of family law mediation as an alternative to going to family court:
Mediation can be less costly and time consuming than family court because it involves less paperwork and legal processes. The mediator will keep the parties focused on the issues and avoid irrelevant discussions so that the parties may resolve the dispute quickly.
Family law mediation allows for more flexible and unique options for resolution than those available through a court order. The mediator helps move the parties away from their fixed positions in divorce and separation towards a solution that meets the needs of everyone involved.
Mediation is usually voluntary so the parties can choose the family law mediator that they want and they are not bound by any proposals discussed during the mediation process. However, since the parties take an active role in resolving the dispute during divorce and family law mediation, they are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome and to comply with the terms of the settlement.
Through family law mediation, former spouses can develop better methods of communication and learn better ways to solve their problems. The mediator will help the parties listen to each other and encourage them to look at their issues from different points of view. Together, they will explore ideas for dispute resolution in their separation and divorce. The methods used in family law mediation can be applied again and again after the process is complete.
Maintaining a working relationship after separation or divorce is particularly important in in cases involving children as it helps with co-parenting. The family law dispute resolution methods learned in mediation can be used to better maintain healthy post separation relationships.
Family law mediation is confidential and “without prejudice”. In this way the former spouses can discuss their family law issues in a safe and private setting without worrying that their discussions will come out later in court.
All that being said, family law mediation is not easy. It takes courage to face your former spouse and negotiate the terms of separation and divorce. However, if done properly, it has many benefits and can result in a longer lasting peace.
If you would like to book a mediation or learn more about the process, please give Crossroads Law a call.