A divorce can be one of the most stressful events for a couple and their children. When dealing with the issues that must be worked out during a divorce, it is often hard to make everyone happy. Imagine spending years in court fighting over child custody and property division. A stressful and emotional situation, no doubt, but imagine a different scenario. One where all you had to do was meet with an impartial professional who worked to facilitate communication between the parties behind closed doors.
Mediation is an effective way for couples going through a divorce to resolve their issues and reach an agreement that is most beneficial for the whole family. Mediation can help alleviate this stress and make the divorce process more amicable. During mediation (as opposed to going to court), spouses usually resolve disputes much faster, making the divorce as straightforward as possible. Read on to grasp more about how mediation alleviates stress in the family.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where an impartial third party (the mediator) helps the divorcing couple communicate and negotiate the terms of their divorce. The mediator does not take sides and does not make any decisions for the couple—instead, they facilitate communication and help the couple come to their own agreement.
The mediation process is much less formal than going to court, which makes it more relaxed and less stressful for everyone involved because no judges are present. Instead, the focus is on finding solutions that work for both parties rather than winning or losing. In addition, all communication is completely confidential until an agreement is reached, signed and becomes the court document. Even at that point, ONLY the agreement reaches the court. Nothing else that was discussed is ever made public. Your personal business remains your personal business.
How Does Mediation Alleviate Stress On The Family?
There are many ways in which mediation can alleviate stress on the family when divorcing.
Mediation Improves Communication. One of the most significant benefits of mediation is that it helps improve communication between the divorcing couple, as both spouses are encouraged to openly express their needs and wants without fear of judgment or criticism.
This improved communication can help reduce stress levels for everyone involved, making it easier to understand each other’s perspectives and find common ground.
The Children Are Spared. Another way in which mediation alleviates stress on the family is by sparing the children from having to see their parents fight in court, which can be an incredibly stressful and emotional experience for children who may feel caught in the middle of their parents’ conflict. A couple can work out their disagreements in mediation without involving the children, helping ease stress for the entire family. The children will not have to witness their parents fighting or taking sides in the divorce.
Mediation Is Private, Unlike Litigation. Mediation is private, meaning the divorce details are not made public. This is in contrast to litigation, where everything that is said in court is a matter of public record.
This privacy can be beneficial for the family, as it allows them to keep the details of their divorce confidential. However, the family will not have to worry about their personal information being made public.
Mediation Is A Cost-Effective Way To Resolve Divorce Issues. Another way in which mediation alleviates stress on the family is by being a more cost-effective way to resolve divorce issues since mediation does not require the use of expensive lawyers or court fees. The cost savings of mediation can be beneficial for the family, as it can help reduce financial stress during the divorce process, allowing the family to focus on more important things, such as their relationship with each other and their children.
Mediation Can Reduce Negotiating Time So That Both Parties Can Reach An Agreement Faster. Mediation can help lessen the time it takes to negotiate a divorce settlement as both parties are encouraged to communicate their needs and wants in mediation openly. This can be beneficial for the family. The faster the couple can reach an agreement, the less stress they will experience. If you are considering mediation, be sure to find a mediator that you feel comfortable with and who has experience dealing with divorcing couples.
The Mediator’s Impartiality Smooths The Process. Mediators do not represent either party in the negotiation process. They are considered “guardians of the process’ and are only responsible for the integrity of the process. The mediator’s impartiality can help smooth out the mediation process. This impartiality can benefit the family and make the process more efficient.
Relationships Are Undamaged. Although the divorce process can be complicated, mediation can help make it less damaging to relationships. The couple is encouraged to communicate freely and work together to find solutions, and the family will not have to worry about the divorce destroying their relationships. This is not to say that divorce is not hurtful or painful but getting through the difficult process of a parenting plan, custody issues and the equitable division of assets can be made more civilized and amicable through the mediation process.
Having Children Know Their Parents Are Participating In A Process Where They Are Talking Helps Them Feel More Secure During The Divorce. Children find divorce frightening and it creates a strong sense of instability for them. Where will they go? Do they do something wrong to cause this? Who will love them? What about their grandparents, aunts, uncles? They have many fears and questions. Mediators will often remind parents to talk to their children about these issues and to raise them with their children. They may ask about therapy during the development of a parenting plan. All this input can benefit the family by helping the children cope with the divorce to a more successful degree. It can also help reduce stress for the parents, as they will not have to worry as much about their children being negatively affected by the divorce.
Mediation Saves Valuable Time And Energy By Avoiding Court Hearings. The family will not have to go to court to resolve their differences, benefiting the family by saving them time and significant amounts of money. Further, the family will not have to worry about going to court or dealing with lawyers.
A Well-Designed Parenting Plan Can Help Children Adjust To Changing Family Structures. If the mediation process results in a parenting plan, this can help children adjust to their changing family structure. For example, the parenting plan will outline how the parents will share custody of the children and make decisions about their welfare.
This can benefit the family by providing stability for the children and helping them understand what is happening, and each parent will know what to expect from the other. Mediation is a less stressful way to get divorced and can have many blessings for the family.
Fighting Less Often Means Everyone Is Better Able To Move On. If the couple can reach an agreement through mediation, they will fight less often. The family can quickly move on from the divorce and focus on positive things.
How Does The Mediation Procedure Work?
The mediation procedure operates like this: During your divorce, a mediator will fairly listen to the two of you. This skilled person will collaborate with both of you to identify potential points of contention. For instance, you and your spouse might not agree on who will maintain the marital home or how to deal with time-sharing and co-parenting duties. Or perhaps you have different ideas about how to handle issues like spousal or child support. You can also disagree over who will keep some expensive objects.
The mediator’s task is to help you and your spouse communicate with each other so that you can make these decisions yourselves. Before you begin the negotiating process, the mediator may attempt to establish victories for you and your partner. The mediator may even ask if your family has considered consulting with mental health professionals so that you can cope with the loss that comes with divorce.
What To Do If We Reach An Impasse During Mediation?
If the couple reaches an impasse during mediation, the mediator will help them explore other options. For example, the mediator may suggest that the couple take a break from mediation or try a different approach. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, they can choose to go to court.
Tips For Scheduling And Preparing For Your First Mediation Session
When scheduling your first mediation session, choosing a time when both parties are available is essential. It is also important to be prepared for the session. It is knowing what you want to discuss (bringing relevant documents), having an open mind, and being prepared to compromise.
Because mediation helps you to resolve differences without the stress of going to court, it is an ideal solution for couples going through a divorce. It allows you to move forward with more positive feelings and the knowledge that you have positively affected your entire family, helping them to heal and become more comfortable in their new roles.
Hopefully, this information can help you decide if mediation is the right choice for your divorce case. If you decide it is, the most important thing to remember is that it will take time. Divorces are never easy, but some of the decisions can be less painful. Hopefully, you will come out better on the other side with patience and understanding.
Remember not all families are ideal candidates for mediation. However, it can lead to a more harmonious divorce that can cost significantly less than litigation while obtaining a just and balanced settlement for each of you. Additionally, it will allow you and your partner to demonstrate to your kids how to resolve conflicts in a mature and responsible way.
Are you prepared to begin the procedure?