This is Part 2 in our Series on Divorce Mediation. Divorce can be a traumatic experience to everyone, both to spouses and kids. It can be emotionally stressful, and financially costly at a time when you may need to conserve your resources. So it’s no wonder that many families are giving strong consideration to divorce mediation, an option growing in popularity in the United States, and particularly here in Irvine, California and surrounding areas. Will mediation be a good choice for your family’s current situation? Here are some facts about the mediation process to consider in helping you to decide whether to use a divorce mediator or a lawyer in resolving your separation.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
There are many obvious, and not so obvious benefits to using the mediation process when getting divorced here in Southern California.
Financial Benefits to Your Family
Paying two attorneys is significantly more expensive than paying one mediator – although you can certainly consult with lawyers and other experts as needed. In litigation, however, attorneys aren’t the only costs you’ll incur. You’ll likely pay for experts and document reproduction. And then there are the indirect costs of leaving work to attend depositions, hearings or meetings with your attorney.
Divorce Mediation Offers a High Level of Privacy
You don’t have to take the stand in open court to discuss your personal finances and family life. And while information disclosed in court is open to the public forever, with mediation, you eliminate the risk that proceedings in open court could find their way into the media. Mediation is confidential: Whatever is said in a mediation session stays in that mediation session.
A Less Stressful and More Speedy Process
Because it is more informal – and less threatening – than appearances in court, mediation tends to be less stressful on all parties.
You don’t have to wait for court dates to be set, or attorney’s calendars to be aligned, so your case can be concluded more quickly than a litigated divorce.
Interested Parties of the Family Remain In Control During Divorce Mediation
You stay in control because you’re not turning the decision-making over to the court. The courts apply set rules to cases and may not consider the issues you value most. Mediation allows you to design remedies to fit your unique needs, values and circumstances, permitting “win/win” solutions.
Because spouses work out their own agreements, mediation increases the likelihood of compliance and reduces the possibility of disputes after divorce.
Mediation Promotes Better Relationships in Families Post-Divorce
Perhaps the most important benefit of mediation is the relationship you and your spouse will have after the divorce. Mediation keeps the lines of communication open, as spouses negotiate directly with one another. In litigation, spouses communicate through their attorneys. The goal is to win your case. You’re fueled by emotion, and the need to settle an old argument or undo some past wrong; in short, you’re out for revenge and willing to be aggressive in your litigation. This is not a good formula for mending fences.
In mediation, by contrast, you and your spouse will learn how to communicate respectfully and effectively with one another, diffusing the tensions that typically impede negotiations. The result is better cooperation after the divorce, leading to a better long-term relationship for you and your ex – and happier and less-conflicted children.
Statistics show that mediation succeeds 85 percent of the time.
What Types of Situations Should Absolutely be Mediated?
A lot of times we get asked what sort of situations make a couple good candidates for mediation and who will be more likely to have a successful end result with mediation. We respond that any one of the following would:
- Both spouses agree that a divorce is necessary.
- Neither spouse wants to reconcile.
- You are on good terms with your spouse.
- You are aware of your finances.
- Your spouse does not intimidate you.
- You and your spouse are willing to listen to one another.
- Both accept suggestions—and are willing to come to a compromise.
*It is critical that you both want to give mediation at least a try, you are prepared to negotiate like adults, and to show up for your sessions in good faith.
However, not every couple are slam-dunk candidates for mediation. This is where the mediator you choose to help facilitate your divorce process is critical!
Mediation Is Less Likely to Work In These Cases Unless You Have a Highly Skilled Mediator with Lots of Experience:
- One partner is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- One partner is mentally ill.
- One partner has been subjected to domestic violence and/or has an active restraining order.
- You suspect your partner is hiding assets from you.
These issues can present challenges that would otherwise not be present in a typical divorce mediation. However, with a skilled and experienced mediator, you should still be able to successfully mediate your case. Over the past 15 years, Colleen McNamee has been able to successfully mediate and resolve numerous cases involving these specific issues. Her education and years of experience lend a hand in her being able to do so, along with her compassion and creativity when faced with these challenging situations.
Does Mediation Fit Your Family?
If you meet these criteria and think you would be a candidate for divorce family mediation, call Colleen McNamee today to set up an appointment. If you’re not sure, call NOW to discuss your situation and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and help you determine if this would be a wise course of action to consider. Colleen has years of experience helping couples and families resolve conflicts, and she can be the perfect first
person to call if you’re not sure who you need to talk with. Find out today how we can help.
See Part 3 in our series: What to Know Before Using a Divorce Mediator.