When you are considering a divorce, part of preparation is researching your options. One you likely have come across is mediation. The goal of this approach is to put you more in control of your divorce and make it a more efficient process. Mediation does this by providing a neutral facilitator who helps you and your spouse communicate and compromise outside of court, costing you less time, money and emotional distress.
This all may sound enticing to you, but how realistic is it, especially when you have multiple children and assets involved? One of the myths of mediation is that it only works for simple cases or couples with modest property. The truth is, however, that mediation not only works in complex cases but can also be the best choice.
The advantages of mediation over litigation
Litigating, or fighting in court, is the most familiar way to divorce, but that does not mean it is always the most effective. Litigation encourages adversarial attitudes and lengthens the divorce with court dates as new evidence and arguments come up. Ultimately, a judge who does not know your family and your circumstances that well makes the final decision.
Litigation is necessary in some situations, but otherwise, mediation is worth considering first. It offers the following benefits:
- You and your spouse practice communication skills you will need after the divorce.
- You put your focus on important matters instead of on attacking and fighting your soon-to-be ex.
- You two are more likely to find solutions you both can accept and follow because you two know your family's needs better than anyone else.
- Your children will also benefit from seeing their parents cooperate and be civil.
You can use mediation for your whole case or just for the areas you cannot agree on.
Collaborative law: the middle ground
If you are unsure mediation will work due to a strained relationship, another option is collaborative law. This method also keeps you out of court but uses individual attorneys instead of a mediator to help you create the divorce agreement.