Divorce mediation often offers many benefits to couples planning to divorce. There are different formats, but it is generally a collaborative approach where you and your spouse work collaboratively to find solutions for parenting time, division of assets and other areas of dispute. The proactive problem-solving approach is also well suited if you plan to actively coparent. Moreover, the process is typically faster and less expensive than court.
4 strategies for making it work
This all sounds great, but compromise and working together can be difficult, so here are some strategies for making the most of the process.
- Pick the right mediator: You and your spouse have a certain style for working together, so the mediator needs to be a comfortable fit. It is also best to find one who is non-judgmental, empathetic, works well with any lawyers involved, creative, and highly skilled. They should also strive to bring things to a conclusion.
- Commit to the process: You need to commit to the process for it to work. It involves participating in the process and understanding that it is not a matter of winning or losing so much as problem-solving solutions that are best for the children while addressing the needs of the parents.
- Listen and be open-minded: People have ideas about how things should be and what they want, but this can change as the process moves toward a conclusion. Thinking may shift as you address the issues. The mediator also can provide viable solutions that may not have occurred to the couple.
- Be prepared: The mediator may give instructions before starting the process and ask for certain assets to be valued before it begins. Spouses should also prioritize what is important to them.
Attorneys are also important
Mediators try to be fair and neutral, but it is still smart to have a family law attorney who understands the divorce process, knows the common issues and can address your individual needs and concerns regardless of what the mediator or other side says. This best ensures a fair and equitable outcome that works for everyone.